No Small Affair (1995) from Brainscan, Tuna, and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Brainscan's notes in white
So if I told you there was a movie in which Demi Moore at 21 years of age goes topless and so does the woman who played Ginger on Gilligan's Island, you would say, "No way."
It's called No Small Affair, and it was made in 1984.
Now, there is a problem... or two.
About the movie:
This is a teen romantic comedy, in which Jon Cryer plays a 16-yr-old (he was 19 at the time) who courts a 21-yr-old singer played by Demi. Well, sorta "courts", but not really. More like he helps her with her career. And as a reward she boffs him at the end of the movie. Thing is filled with an excellent cast but it just sits there and dies. I hate teen angst romances, from the worst ones up to and including Romeo and Juliet. So you have to take that into consideration when I tell you I wouldn't watch this movie again if Demi had blown Mr. Cryer on camera.
Part of the problem is Cryer. He was the poor man's Matthew Broderick. Even played a character a little later in his career who was meant to remind us of Ferris Bueller, but no one can remember the name of the thing. Not even me.. and I just looked it up on IMDb. Oh yeah, something like Morgan Stewart Comes Home. Or Leaves Town. Something like that. Cryer was more than okay as a supporting actor in a whole bunch of films, but he couldn't do the heavy lifting of being the lead. Don't ask me why. In No Small Affair, he is just so odd I couldn't imagine any woman, much less a living doll like Demi, giving him the time of day. For certain she would never give him a roll in the hay.
So the movie was frigging painful to watch. Shot in San Francisco by someone who thinks San Francisco is oh so very pretty to look at. Note to director: next time shoot a travelogue. It wastes the talents of George Wendt and Demi and a host of other first-rate character types. Self-consciously quirky, unamusing ... the bloated carcass of a beached whale in San Francisco harbor... that's No Small Affair.
Tuna's notes in yellow
Jon Cryer is a junior in High School.
Although he is not completely unaware of girls, his passion is
photography. As the film opens, he is shooting on a wharf, and asks a
couple to get out of his shot. Seems he doesn't relate much to people
and never photographs them.
Cryer desperately wants to help the girl of his dreams, and to win her heart in the process. His big move doesn't immediately have the intended effect, but ...
|At its core, No Small Affair is
essentially a sappy romantic comedy about adolescent angst. However, the
creators of this film made the most of that clay. They assembled an
excellent cast (Wendt and Moore were joined by Jeffrey Tambor, and the
film also featured the screen debuts of Jennifer Tilly and Tim Robbins,
pictured to the right) to deliver some brilliant dialogue, used Vilmos
Zsigmond as DP, filmed in picturesque San Francisco, and dubbed the
sound track with real musicians.
Here was my favorite bit of dialogue.
This premise could have resulted in a disaster, but it is more or less watchable, if not especially believable.
Scoop's notes in blue
Obviously, Brainscan and Tuna disagreed strongly on No Small Affair. It seems to me that this film is too inconsequential to spend much time on, but I thought it was decent. The great weakness of the film is that it's a romance in which the relationship of the two partners is utterly unconvincing. (Not to mention statutory rape, but they ignored such details back in the 80s.) And it isn't very funny either. Those facts alone should render the film unwatchable, but they really don't, despite the fact that its a romantic comedy which is neither romantic nor funny. As I view it, the film works as an offbeat, light-hearted character study, and is not an unpleasant way to pass the time if you are receptive to adolescent angst movies. If you don't like such movies, you should not make any effort to see it, but if someone forces you to sit through it, it probably won't be as bad an experience for you as it was for Brainscan ...
... you are allergic to one or both of the two major time-bombs lurking within:
The director of this film was Jerry Schatzberg, who was much better known for seventies-era dramas replete with social consciousness, like Scarecrow and Panic in Needle Park. There must be an interesting story behind his migration from serious Pacino films to fluff like this, but I don't know it. Maybe he was just leaving the narrow current of the seventies and swimming out into the open sea of the eighties, like the rest of us.
Overall, I have to side with Tuna in this debate. I have no enthusiasm for this minor movie, but watching it wasn't an awful way to pass the time.
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