Girls Just Want to Have Fun Movie Review

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are lounging around their Greenwich Village townhouse reminiscing about the good old days.

"You know, Sarah Jessica," Matthew says," back in 1985 I was filming Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a classic '80s comedy that's been loved and admired by two generations and is one of the most popular, successful teen movies of all time. What were you doing back in '85?, S.J.?"

"Shut up, Matthew," she snaps.

Could it be that Sarah Jessica doesn't want to remember Girls Just Want to Have Fun, her embarrassing contribution to that much-studied genre known as the "'80s teen movie?" Strictly for the hardest of hardcore '80s nostalgia buffs, Girls is a giggly just-wanna-dance-and-get-a-boyfriend comedy that stars a young Parker and a young Helen Hunt as the two main gigglers. Why the movie has to run for two hours is a mystery for the ages.

Janey (Parker) arrives at a nun-filled Catholic school and announces that what she really wants to do is dance on TV. This fact immediately endears her to the hyper Lynne (Hunt), the class rebel who can't wait to pull off her boring plaid skirt uniform at the end of the school day. (She's rigged it with velcro so it flies off with the flick of a wrist.) The girls have one goal in mind: to win the local dance competition to score permanent spots as dancers on the popular TV show DTV. Naturally Janey's Army dad, the film's symbol of uptight adulthood, says no way, but that's not her biggest problem. It turns out that rich girl Natalie (Holly Gagnier) is arranging for her father to rig the contest. Sure enough, Lynne gets knocked out of the contest early, but Janey makes it through by being paired up with local stud Jeff (Lee Montgomery, who it should be noted left the acting profession soon after making this film).

Natalie next sets her sights on seducing Jeff while her father, who just so happens to be the boss of Jeff's father, threatens to fire Jeff's dad Jeff doesn't drop out. And so it goes.

When the televised DTV finals take place, Natalie and her partner end up in a tie with Janey and Jeff, and you know what that means: dance-off! While Jeff stands off to the side shaking his moneymaker in a way that leaves you wondering if he'd rather have a boyfriend than a girlfriend, Janey runs through an increasingly athletic routine of handsprings and flips far more suited to the NCAA gymnastics finals than American Bandstand. Jeff joins her for one final flip, and guess who wins the contest.

Of all the things wrong with Girls, what really kills it is the total lack of real '80s music. Why did the producers decide to go with a generic synthesizer-heavy soundtrack while all those competing John Hughes films of the same era roped in the top hits of the day, songs that still stick in our minds today? Even the film's title song isn't Cyndi Lauper's original version. It's recreated by a K-Tel soundalike. Was the budget really that small? They certainly had plenty of cash for lycra leotards, hairspray, and tomorrow's starlets.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :


Girls Just Want to Have Fun Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: PG, 1985


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