I Saw a Film!

There are few likable characters in this particular fantasy of a college boy (Cusack) wanting to catch up to a Caribbean vacation his flippant and bizarre girlfriend goes on with her well off family. I suppose it’s normal to deck yourself in black and ninja-climb the outside of a building to sneak up on a studying mate, especially if you’re that fellow’s lover . . . but for some reason this really seemed an odd fit for such a silly rom-com. The young lady also breaks mold in being uninterested in her beau’s studies, and in any other movie would likely have been marked for 1st victim by a slasher.

Having grown up with Cusack since the early 80s it’s really funny to see his baby-faced stylized movie-reactions but it’s even funnier to see Ben Stiller exhibiting such neotany and acting alongside his pop as a pair of dangerous hustlers. Of course, when I saw this film 30+ years ago we hadn’t had all the achievements of the younger Stiller and I wasn’t in-the-know enough to recognize the elder. Seeing them here long previous to Zoolander seems like a treat now and the loopy gun and grenade play that ensues can be forgotten.

Robert Loggia who resembles Dick Miller in this, is a wild-eyed sloop captain who gets Cusack remarkably close to his lady, an actress I can’t recall, and a trio of fun-loving stereotyped Jamaicans are inserted as a kind of comic team for Cusack to play straight against. It’s a bit cringeworthy, but not rotten. My fave sequence is a Cuban hi-jacking of a plane Cusack is on. Cusack, at the end of his rope, gets up and wrestles the “bomb” away from the hi-jacker only to find it’s a loaf of bread. This is what a fantasy is supposed to be like, like the effects of a dream in which bogus nonsense happens, but we survive, and maybe get a happy ending. There is some death, which feels difficult, so the kiddos could be forgiven for being a little terrified of Stiller’s psychopath portrayal.

A subplot of the film has the girlfriend’s dad entirely dismissive of young Cusack as a man, or a mate for his daughter. Cusack’s antics, ridiculous by any standard, especially those of an adult hoping for a stable mate for a daughter, somehow wins over the pugilistic lout and we’re supposed to imagine it’s a good thing. But again, fantasy, just keep reminding yourself it’s a fantasy.

I somehow drifted off by the time Cusack actually won back his somewhat lazy and spoiled girlfriend, so I don’t have anything to add to the ending of the Hot Pursuit. One of the more forced moments happens when the Jamaican’s bog their jeep down in a swamp and Cusack builds a means of aiding it out of the mess by means of applying “Pythagorean theory”, basically trigonometry. It is a weak moment that I’m surprised adult movie-makers left in, a kind of Sesame Street for collage in which a muppet teaches what a hypotenuse is to some other muppets not smart enough to raise their own vehicle.

This is running about 4 bucks on Prime and is really not one of the better 80s rom coms starring Cusack. I lean toward Better Off Dead.

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