Dave's Rating:


… dorky goodness …

Who's in It: James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall, Alice Eve, Catherine Tate, Charles Dance, Dominic Cooper

The Basics:When you decide to remake John Hughes' Pretty in Pink, it's always a good idea to juice up the formula a bit. For example, when Hughes decided to remake it himself in Some Kind of Wonderful, he changed the ending to make it the one he always wanted. This one tweaks the template by being British and set at a university instead of in high school hell. If it had been made in the '80s, it would have trounced the other two, because back then — to disaffected American kids, anyway — being British was about the coolest thing you could possibly aspire to. After being Bret Easton Ellis, of course.

What's the Deal? Oh, yes, the plot, sorry. It's about a young guy with a brain full of general knowledge from years of watching quiz shows. He goes to a university, falls for the blonde knockout who's completely wrong for him, all the while ignoring the smart, pretty, socially conscious brunette who thinks he's adorably dense. See what I mean? McAvoy sort of even resembles young Eric Stoltz, if you squint just right.

Besides the Plot, Here's What It Lifts From Hughes' Teen Angst Trilogy: Well, it's set in 1985, and it almost gets the look down right. The hair could be bigger and stupider. And having the Psychedelic Furs and the Smiths' "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" on the soundtrack is about as blatant a move as you can get without including a Molly Ringwald cameo.

Why You Should See It: Because somehow, even though it doesn't have an original bone in its body, it's got that dorky goodness you want from a movie about people in their late teens. When people who aren't that age make movies, they forget that they really weren't all that suave at 19, and the result is that they tend to make movies that recast their youth as something way more sophisticated than it was.

If Ever a Movie Begged to be Retitled for Its American Release, This Is It: When they remade Fever Pitch, they changed it from soccer to baseball, didn't they? You'd think that they take a film titled from a U.K. TV catchphrase that virtually no one outside of that cluster of countries understands and rename it something a little catchier. But no.


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