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Risky Business (1983)

Meet the model son who’s been good too long

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

UK Certificate: 18


If only those ever-vague ads offering the opportunity to “work from home” were offering the line of enterprise the frighteningly-young Tom Cruise sets up for himself in ‘Risky Business’. After all, who in their right mind could disagree that running your own den of iniquity sounds infinitely more enjoyable than stuffing leaflets into envelopes for hour upon hour?

Aged 19 when he nabbed this starring role, Cruise – as the wet-behind-the-ears Joel Goodson – looks barely old enough to be allowed on the dodgems without an adult, let alone go into business with a platoon of pleasure-selling hussies. But that’s exactly what he does when his folks (Nicholas Pryor and Janet Carroll) decide to go away for the week and leave the family home in his unblemished hands. So before long it’s high times for Joel and his craply-dressed High School buddies – well, until “Guido the killer pimp” (Joe Pantoliano) arrives on the scene, that is.

It’s not tough to see where it influences (but not necessarily betters) the string of kids-left-on-their-own flicks that followed, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, to ‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’, via ‘Home Alone’. But not only is ‘Risky Business’ the most risky (hence the title, perhaps), it’s also the most risqué (see what I did there?). If you don’t believe me, just catch the scene where Cruise and co-star Rebecca De Mornay (as lead hooker Lana) engage in rumpy-pumpy on a moving train, as far as we know without even buying tickets. Or, if that’s not evidence enough, hide your eyes for Joel sliding around the hallway floor in his keks – if it were up to me, that part alone would be worth the 18 certificate.

Of course, as is now customary in the genre, the film verges into Yellow Pages ad territory for the finale, and the soundtrack tends to leave things painfully dated (not often these days would you get a serious sex scene accompanied by Phil Collins on vocals), but ‘Risky Business’ remains a cracking film of its time. Cruise shows the star potential that would later make him one of Hollywood’s biggest names, the screenplay is sharp and funny, and director Paul Brickman moves things along at an entertaining pace. Just don’t try this at home – or, at the very least, make sure you know exactly when the old-timers are due back.

It's Got: The now-legendary pant dance.

It Needs: A small business start-up grant from the council.

DVD Extras Cast and crew bios – does anyone honestly ever read those?? DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


Pimpin’ most definitely ain’t easy.