Release Date: October 19, 1984
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Douglas Day Stewart
Cast: Steven Bauer; Barbara Williams; John Getz; David Caruso; George Wendt
The first thing I have to say about this movie is that it’s almost impossible to review this from a 2013 frame of mind, as it is oh-so-dated. I will, however, give it my best shot.
This came to theaters in 1984 from the formidable producing pair of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (“Flashdance”; “Top Gun”; “Bad Boys”), and very much bears their signature. Their movies were characterized by highly stylized visuals and accompanying pop-rock soundtracks. They, along with the still new MTV (which premiered in 1981), helped to mold the hyper-modern look of the 1980’s. The stories in their films were always a bit slight, but the visuals made up for it (that was sort of the point). They were one of the most successful producing teams of the 80’s and 90’s. Mr. Simpson, unfortunately, passed away in 1996, but Mr. Bruckheimer, of course, is still a wildly successful producer today, in movies (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) and TV (“CSI”; “Cold Case”).
Steven Bauer, fresh from his dazzling debut in “Scarface,” is Scott Muller: cat burglar. One night, he burgles the home of one Mr. and Mrs. Ray and Mickey Davis (John Getz and Barbara Williams), looting a small safe containing Mickey’s private journals. Well, she is understandably freaked out (her house was just robbed!), especially since the journals contain her innermost thoughts and secret desires. She has written about her unhappy marriage and how she wish someone would just come and sweep her off her frigid feet and make her feel like a woman! And she has reason to be freaked out, because that’s exactly what Scott does. He begins to read her journals, and, having gained the proverbial passkey into her mind, gets himself introduced to Mickey (under the ruse of owning a school supply business) and plays the part of that mystery man in her journals. Trouble ensues.
This was the feature writing-directing debut of Douglas Day Stewart, who wrote 1982’s Richard Gere hit “An Officer and a Gentleman”; yet, it must be pointed out, the risible Demi Moore “Scarlet Letter.” He does an admirable job for a first effort. I get the feeling that he probably wanted the film to be more of a hot and steamy thriller than what it actually ended up being: a mediocre suspenser with one or two iffy sex scenes. The best scene in the movie is a heated seduction scene set at a shooting range!
Steven Bauer was at his hottest here…the man is undeniably sexy! You just want to reach into the movie and rub that suntan oil all over his manly chest. Canadian actress Barbara Williams is suitably beautiful, in that MILF kind of way. Also, it’s interesting to see a very young David Caruso, complete with feathered flattop, playing Scott’s partner in crime. Getz is appropriately mousy as the husband, an author of children’s books, no less.
The movie is best viewed as an 80’s time capsule. It’s got it all: the big hair, the music, the avant-garde interior design (which, seen today is absolutely nothing short of HIDEOUS!!). Seen through that lens, it’s fun. But I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “good movie.”