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Risky Business (1983)

Updated on May 24, 2011

If you mention 80s movie "Risky Business" to anyone the chances are memories which are brought to the surface will be Tom Cruise strutting his funky stuff in just a shirt and underwear or a young Rebecca De Mornay appearing naked as a call girl. But the chances are you won't get many people remembering how clever "Risky Business" was with it's look at teenage life, the troubles and fears as well as fantasies of young men on the verge of becoming adults.

With his parents leaving him in charge of the house while they go away on holiday, Joel find his average rather normal life turned upside down when he ends up spending the night with Lana a sexy call girl. Eyeing a chance to make some decent money Lana talks Joel into not just letting her and her friends use his empty house but also to acts as a pimp bringing in his rich young friends as customers.

Whilst "Risky Business" is often remembered mainly for being fun and a little fantasy like it does surprisingly focus on the issues which teenage boys faced such as expectations for their future and so on. But it also focuses on the sex lives and fantasies of teenage boys delivering humour and realism in equal measures such as an early scene where a group of teenagers are playing poker, the sexual banter full of conquests is amusing but at the same time real, exactly what teenagers do in their groups. And this mix of comedy and realism continues through out "Risky Business" making it amusing but also a little uneasy as you start to think about those lies and boasts from your own formative years.

But whilst there is a streak of realism to "Risky Business" it is also a very entertaining movie with a mix of fun and fantasy. From Tom Cruise strutting his funky stuff to "Old Time Rock and Roll" through to him crashing his dad's expensive Porsche and also becoming a smooth pimp, you are never far away from a fun scene which mixes subtle and over top comedy in equal measures. The fact that "Risky Business" is so amusing works to balance out the realism so whilst it's slightly unnerving watching teenage lie and boast about their sexual conquests it's strangely amusing watching Cruise fantasize about discover a sexy young woman in a shower.

Of course "Risky Business" is called such because it explores sex and hookers. Although to be honest "Risky Business" is really not that risky with just a couple of tame sex scenes and the semi fantasy moment which ends up with Rebecca De Mornay appearing naked. But at the same time it's amusing watching the safe Joel turn into a confident smooth operating pimp as he talks his friends into parting with their money to spend time with the ladies in his home.

But to be honest "Risky Business" is most often remembered for Tom Cruise and despite coming before he made "Top Gun" and mega stardom took grip it's an impressive performance. He manages to deliver than nervousness/ awkwardness of a teenager who lets be honest is a bit of a stiff, more concerned about his future than enjoying his teenage years. But then when the storyline develops and Joel becomes a smooth operator, Cruise turns on the charm, flashes that smile and delivers a performance of boundless confidence. It all works well and although it occasionally feels a little cheesy Cruise really shows his talent for creating memorable characters.

As well as Tom Cruise "Risky Business" is also remembered for Rebecca De Mornay as the cute yet manipulative call girl. The pairing of Cruise and De Mornay works well making it seem almost believable that they fall for each other. Aside from Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay there are a few other recognizable faces from the 80s in "Risky Business" such as Bronson Pinchot, Curtis Armstrong plus Joe Pantoliano as pimp Guido.

All in all "Risky Business" is still as entertaining as ever, even after 25 years. Tom Cruise is on fine form as Joel and with the clever storyline which mixes realism with amusement it is a movie which never seems to be anything but enjoyable.


Title: Risky Business
Year: 1983
Length: 98 mins
Certificate: 18
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Paul Brickman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Masur, Bronson Pinchot, Curtis Armstrong, Nicholas Pryor, Janet Carroll

For a full review of Tom Cruise's "Risky Business" please visit The Movie Scene.


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    • supercibor profile image

      Hector Herrera 7 years ago from Dominican Republic

      I had so much fun watching this film.