Case Number 23654: Small Claims Court


Image Entertainment // 1985 // 87 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // April 11th, 2012

The Charge

That's all they really want!

The Case

Janey Glenn (Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City) is the new girl at a Chicago Catholic high school. Her father (Ed Lauter, Not Another Teen Movie) is a retired military colonel. The family has finally settled down for a while, allowing Janey to make new friends. Janey befriends Lynn (Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets), a rebellious student who shares Janey's love of "Dance TV", which features -- you guessed it! -- kids dancing on TV (super exciting). When an audition opens up for local teens to dance in the background, Janey and Lynn jump at the chance to be on the show! Janey finds many speed bumps on her way to stardom; a domineering father, a snobby rich girl (Holly Gagnier) who wants the same spot on "Dance TV," and a possible love interest (Lee Montgomery) who is as into dancing as he is...himself. What's a girl to do? Just have fun, of course!

If there is any decade I'm drawn to, it's the 1980s. So many fun movies sprung from those short ten years. Teen comedies were more than plentiful and there seemed to be something for everyone; John Hughes gave us classics like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, raunchy sex comedies like Revenge of the Nerds and Porky's popped up at every turn, and even oddities like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Better Off Dead made their way to movie screens. If the movie was made between 1980 and 1989, there's a good chance I've seen it.

Except for Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Somehow this little bugger slipped under my radar. Could it possibly hold its own against those other '80s titans?

No. Not at all.

Girls Just Want To Have Fun is about as substantial as cotton candy, only not nearly as enjoyable or sweet. There's a good reason why movie fans don't mention this in the same breath as Weird Science or Just One of the Guys; it's a routine, stagnant, lackluster comedy whose only "fun" shows up in the title.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt play teenagers who are gaga over a television dance show, try out for said show, and then...well, if you don't know what happens you apparently haven't seen a movie since 1947. Parker and Hunt show off their trademark charisma that would pop up in future work, but they're limited to a screenplay that has all the depth of a petri dish. Plucky and spirited, Helen Hunt fares best in the face of mind-numbing banality (seemingly eons older than her character's teen age). A young Jonathan Sliverman (Brighton Beach Memoirs) shows up as an obnoxious brother in what must be his worst role to date. Another famous face, Shannon Doherty (Beverly Hills 90210), plays the little sister with whiney ambition. Doherty is prominently featured on the packaging, giving the impression it's a threesome of friends, but her role is far smaller than the rest of the cast. Lee Montgomery (who would leave acting soon after this film) plays the guy all the girls pine for, but could easily be used by pillaging pirates as a sturdy wooden plank for their ship.

Girls Just Want To Have Fun feels like it's wall-to-wall music, but none of it is memorable or remotely interesting. For those tuning in JUST to hear the Cyndi Lauper pop song of the same name...keep waiting. The filmmakers clearly didn't want to pony up for the rights to the song, opting for a lesser version sung by bad cover artist. That should have been my first red flag.

Bottom line: If you have any warm, nostalgic memories of this film, there's an off-change you'll get a kick out of seeing in again. If you never experienced Girls Just Want To Have Fun, it's going to be a major disappointment. There are no memorable one-liners, no exceedingly amusing performances, and hardly any redeeming qualities except as a curious footnote to Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker's careers.

Presented in 1.85:1/1080p high definition widescreen, Girls Just Want To Have Fun is a low budget effort, and this transfer proves it. While in generally good shape (there are only a few minor scratches or marks), the image looks dull, detail is soft, and the colors are muted, never coming close to "popping" off the screen. The LPCM 2.0 Stereo mix is passable at best, the songs getting the biggest boost (lots of cheesy '80s hits, sadly done karaoke style). No subtitles or alternate language tracks are available.

The only bonus feature is the film's theatrical trailer, presented in standard definition.

The Verdict

You can watch the movie or spend two hours listening to the song. Choose wisely.

Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* Trailer

* IMDb