Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Career Opportunities

When John Hughes passed away last year, most everyone mentioned his popular '80s movies like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club."  Probably no one mentioned "Career Opportunities," which Hughes wrote and produced in 1991.  But the good thing when you have a Netflix-type program is that it's easy to click on someone's name and find out all the stuff they did and watch it just for the Hell of it.  As it turns out, there's probably a good reason no one brought up this movie, because it's not very memorable.

The story features some familiar themes of the aforementioned Hughes classics.  Like Ferris Bueller, Jim Dodge (Franky Wright) is a big talker to the point of excess so that he's known as the Town Liar.  While he likes to spin tales about working for the FBI or some big company, really he can't hold down a job to save his life, much to the consternation of his family, who wants the 21-year-old to move out of the house.

To help make that happen, Jim's dad gets him a job at the local Target department store as the night cleanup boy.  (Watch for an uncredited cameo by John Candy as the Target manager.)  The first convenient plot device is that his supervisor locks him in the store and then takes off to rendezvous with someone else.  This leaves Jim alone in the store--or so he thinks.

While roller skating around the store just for fun, he comes upon Josie (a young Jennifer Connelly) whose father is the richest man in town.  Turns out she was going to shoplift some stuff to get arrested and embarrass her father, but didn't have the guts so she hid in a dressing room.  (There's your second convenient plot device.)  They share some "Breakfast Club"-style angst about their parents and plans for the future.

This is all fine, but then the movie wipes out with the addition of two criminals (Dermot Mulroney and his brother) who somehow break into the Target.  When I read the description I thought this being from John Hughes who wrote "Home Alone" we'd have the same kind of Rube Goldberg-type slapstick traps.  Certainly in a Target store there were plenty of possibilities for that kind of mayhem.  At the least there could have been some great cat-and-mouse between Jim/Josie and the thieves.  None of this comes to pass.

The ending is handled so sloppily that it left me with several questions.  First off, the thieves do such a terrible job looking after their prisoners, so why doesn't Jim or Josie use the phone to call for help?  (Maybe they don't want it to become a hostage situation or fear retribution, but it never even comes up.)  Or since the robbers aren't paying attention, couldn't they set some "Home Alone"-style traps or at least find a couple of butcher knives?  And how does Jim know about a shotgun kept in the store since it's his first night in the store and his supervisor wasn't exactly the communicative type?

None of it really made sense.  Without the thieves this could have been a perfectly adequate teen comedy, but the sloppy final act just brings the whole thing down and really none of the issues raised in the first 3/4 of the movie are dealt with--notably the problem Jim and Josie have with their respective parents.

Probably the only reason to watch this is if you're either such a huge Hughes fan that you have to watch everything he's done or you're a huge fan of Jennifer Connelly's cleavage.  Seriously the shots of her cleavage are as numerous as those of Megan Fox in "Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen."  And then there's her riding on the mechanical horse going up-and-down, up-and-down...OK, I'm losing focus here.  What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, basically there's not much reason for most people to watch this unless you fall into the categories above.

That is all.

My score:  62/100 (2.5 stars--the extra half-star for those cleavage shots!)

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