Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Comedy, USA, 1982; D: Amy Heckerling, S: Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Ray Walston, Vincent Schiavelli, Lana Clarkson, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards

Numerous misadventures of teenagers attending Ridgemont High: senior Brad works in a fast food restaurant to pay off his car, but gets fired after losing his temper with an angry customer and his girlfriend dumps him. His sister Stacy starts dating the shy Mark, but decides to have an affair with his friend Mike which leaves her pregnant, so she decides to make an abortion. "Stoned" Jeff is always late for history class, infuriating his strict teacher Mr. Hand. Linda is Stacy's friend. They all attend prom night.

Powerful in reputation, weak in practice, teenage comedy "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" is still non-the-less a sufficient and easily watchable film thanks, among others, to excellent "relaxed" performances by Reinhold, Jason Leigh and Penn, as well as an competent screenplay with an understanding for the young generation, written by the talented future director Cameron Crowe, though it is not clear how much of it was "cheapened" by director Amy Heckerling by adapting it for the mainstream audience. The legendary scene where Phoebe Cates emerged from the pool, unzipped her bra bathing suit and kissed Reinhold's character in a fantasy became so famous that it was spoofed and paid homages to numerous times, but the majority of the film is too episodic, light, blatant and aimless, with especially rough edges when it suddenly switches to a serious tone (Stacy's abortion), though it is luckily much less vulgar than many similar films, whereas many funny jokes in it proved that the authors had inspiration when they just put some effort into it (Stacy, as a waitress, asks a customer, a young lad: "What can I bring you?" and he says: "A coke and your phone number"; while driving a car, Jeff and his friend talk about the new 'Playboy' edition featuring a naked Bo Derek, with his friend absurdly adding how they showed "both of them").


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