There are tons of movies I absolutely love from the 80s, but there are only a handful that could be considered truly iconic. "Risky Business" is such a film. This is a fantastic time machine for anybody over the age of 30. "Risky Business" just might be the smartest and best acted of all the 80s sex comedies. The film is raunchy, and raunchy 80s sex comedies were a dime a dozen for sure- but this one is much more than that. I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise whatsoever, but he is truly sensational in this performance. This was his breakout role, and Cruise is what sells the film. He plays Joel, a high school guy whose main concern is to get accepted to Princeton. He's tired of always doing the right thing and being Mr. All American, so when the parents go away for a week, he ends up calling a prostitute. His life immediately spirals memorably out of control as he crosses paths with Lana, a call girl memorably played by Rebecca DeMornay.
"Risky Business" opens with a fantastically hypnotic synth score by Tangerine Dream that immediately sets a mood. That almost haunting synth score and those dreamlike shots of Chicago and its burbs are truly sensational. The film benefits from great visual style- the roaming POV shots add greatly to the overall effect. This is a rather strange film. It's usually thought of as an 80s sex comedy, and it does have some funny moments, for sure. But the film could almost be seen as somewhat depressing- it's an almost dark take on "the American Dream", but at times it's hard to tell whether the film is parodying it or celebrating it. Still, it brought true intelligence and sophistication to the genre, on top of making Tom Cruise a bona fide movie star.
Is the film believable? No. In fact the entire film is dream like, as if it's a young males fantasy gone completely out of control. The infamous underwear scene to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" is forever part of pop culture and has spawned thousands of parodies and references. And "Risky Business" has a rockin' soundtrack, featuring such classics as "In The Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, "D.M.S.R." by Prince, and "Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen. I recently watched it and honestly had a blast with it. It's just a really good movie.