Wednesday, April 7, 2010


(Ivan Reitman, 1979)
Summer comedies about teenagers trying to get laid usually appear to emanate from amoral Martians with three Y chromosomes, and the ones that measure in sentimental subplots to balance the humour usually only underline their innate douchebaggery. So it's a shock and a delight to discover that the movie that started it all is something else entirely. His eye on the brass ring, Reitman is no fool; he knows that depth of characterization and tonal control are hard Hollywood currency. But in the light of all that followed, I found his deployment of these questionable conventions not just deeply pleasurable but deeply moving. No jocks and no tits, but it's not just mercies of omission: without neglecting the usual hormonal absurdities, this film shows amazing affection and admiration for kids of all genders fumbling their way through the minefields of intimacy and consent. Riding on top of this business is Bill Murray in his first showcase, and already his caustic non-sequiturs are inseparable from his modest humanism: the "it just doesn't matter" speech is definitive. His scenes with sad outsider Chris Makepeace are a confidently integrated case study in the morality of irony, and Reitman's handling of the climactic foot race is the final proof that he's ready for the big leagues.

No comments:

Post a Comment