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Breakfast Club

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Breakfast Club

Starring: Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy
Director: John Hughes
Rated: R
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: February 1985
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Paul Gleason

Review by Andrew Hicks
2½ stars out of 4

A woman claiming to be my #1 fan has begged me for months to watch and review this 80's staple and, not wanting to get my ankles shattered with a sledgehammer, I decided to oblige her. She told me THE BREAKFAST CLUB was her favorite movie and she'd watched it scores of times and even reenacted the movie herself with action figures. I expected it to be good--after all, this woman has the good taste to be obsessed with my writing. Of course, it turns out I didn't like THE BREAKFAST CLUB as much as I thought I would and only gave it a two-and-a-half star rating, so I may get the sledgehammer treatment yet.

The movie works in theory--an ambitious teen comedy from John Hughes (WEIRD SCIENCE, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF) taking place almost entirely in a high school library where five completely different students are spending their Saturday in detention for one transgression or another. The concept appealed to me, as did the movie's opening, which featured voice-overs from each of the characters as they arrived for their punishment (to the background strains of an extended version of Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me"). I kept waiting for some brilliant comedy dialogue to come along, but except for a few small laughs, not too much entertainment transpired.

The characters are cut out of the basic teen stereotypes. There's the rebellious Neanderthal (Judd Nelson, who might as well be called Judd Dredd), the stuck-up "princess" (Molly Ringwald, entering her eighth minute of fame here), the wrestling-letter jock (Emilio Estevez), the brainy nerd (Anthony Michael Hall) and the antisocial freak (Ally Sheedy). These five people would normally never associate with each other, but the circumstances force them to get to know each other and eventually, as the laws of predictability clearly state, become friends.

Predictability reigns supreme in THE BREAKFAST CLUB without ever having any original insights to redeem it. When you have a movie that consists of 95% dialogue, the dialogue better be something good, alternatingly funny or poignant. The majority of the time, THE BREAKFAST CLUB is neither. And when the climactic moment you knew was coming finally arrives, it seems out of place. All of a sudden, the characters launch into speeches about how bad their lives are. Ringwald's got pressure from her friends, Estevez has a domineering father who's trying to regain his lost youth through his son, Nelson's home life sucks, Hall is flunking shop class and Sheedy is just plain nuts. These monologues should be dramatic or touching, but something's missing and I'm not quite sure what. The performances are all good, but something in the writing is lacking here and in the rest of the movie.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB has always been touted as one of the quintessential teen movies of the 80's and, like I said, I was expecting it to be one, but it let me down by combining a predictable plot with bad writing. It's also unnecessarily depressing at parts, with an ending that's supposed to make up for all the angst-ridden arguments. [WARNING: Don't read this part if you don't want to know the ending.] Out of nowhere, Ringwald, who has stated repeatedly how much she hates Nelson and spent the movie arguing with him, suddenly starts making out with him for no reason at all. It's almost as contrived as having Ringwald give Sheedy a makeover. Suddenly she's a _beautiful_ freak and Estevez likes her. The end.

I guess I'll have to notify my #2 fan that she's just been promoted.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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