He Treats Objects Like Women

The Sure Thing: written by Steve Bloom and Jonathan Roberts; directed by Rob Reiner; starring John Cusack (Walter ‘Gib’ Gibson), Daphne Zuniga (Alison Bradbury), Nicolette Sheridan (The Sure Thing), Anthony Edwards (Lance), Tim Robbins (Gary Cooper), and Viveca Lindfors (Professor Taub) (1985): Fairly delightful though somewhat programmatic 1980’s teen romantic comedy aided by unusually sharp writing and a high-calibre cast. Smart girl Alison and sarcastic goof-off Gib will eventually get together, thanks to a shared Christmas-time, cross-country trip from their East Coast university to Los Angeles.

Alison’s going to see her law-school boyfriend; Gib’s going to bed the eponymous “Sure Thing” his buddy Lance has set up for him. Anthony Edwards has a full head of hair and plays a goof-off! John Cusack demonstrates that he has his full John Cusack charms even in the mid-1980’s! Tim Robbins cameos as a showtune-singing Young Republican! Nicolette Sheridan plays the Sure Thing as vapidly as one expects! And astronomy is important!

The film’s DNA traces back to It Happened One Night and forward to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Here, it works like a charm, with the added charm of assessing the somewhat alien landscape of 1985, when not everybody accepted charge cards, bank cards were almost non-existent, and nobody had cellphones. Though Lance does get overly excited at using a cordless phone. Recommended.

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