Movie Review: Say Anything (1988)

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Comedy

Diane Court (Ione Skye) has her life all planned out.  She is the high school valedictorian,  and she’s applied to England for an overseas scholarship.  Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is just the opposite of Diane, he drifts aimlessly, going from one good time to another.  He lives with his sister, Constance,(Joan Cusack) and will either go to the military, or become a kickboxer. Lloyd wants to date Diane, but his friends, Corey (Lilli Taylor) and DC (Amy Brooks) warn against trying to date her, but Lloyd doesn’t listen, and calls her anyway.  They go out to a party, where Lloyd is the “key man” a designated driver who decides who can drive and who has to sleep over.  This impresses Diane, they go out more.  They go to the nursing home owned by Diane’s father James (John Mahoney) and watch Cocoon with the residents.  Lloyd teaches Diane to drive a stick shift, and eventually they fall in love. James doesn’t like Lloyd, he’s a distraction to his high achieving daughter.  James has hid own problems, he’s being accused of stealing money from the nursing home and enriching himself.  Is this true or is James the victim of a vindictive ex-wife?  Will Lloyd and Diane survive the sudden tumult of Diane’s life?

I wanted to like this movie, I really did, I like John Cusack a lot, this movie has that iconic scene of Cusack holding the boombox blaring Peter Gabriel.  But after seeing the whole movie, the iconic scene is the only one worth remembering.  I thought Say Anything would be better than the standard John Hughes teen angst movie, Cameron Crow e wrote and directed, but it’s got 10 times the angst of a John Hughes movie.  Cusack, who’s played this character 100 times and is good at it, is more sulky than carefree in this movie, and that weighs this movie down.  Ione Skye sulks and cries a lot too, and she dumbs herself down for Lloyd, why is it that women always have to dumb themselves down for underachieving guys?  She does deserve better, why is she settling?   John Mahoney is the worst offender in this needlessly melodramatic film.  Mahoney’s subplot is totally unnecessary, straight out of a soap, and Mahoney is heavyhanded in his role.  Unintentionally funny moment, John Mahoney singing “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number” by Steeley Dan, trying to look cool, it doesn’t work. Truly funny character:  Corey.  The movie should have been about her.

Say Anything.  I can’t say anything good about this movie.


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