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Just One of the Guys
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by Jack Sommersby

"A Pleasing Reversal of 'Tootsie'"
4 stars

While it grossed less than $12 million, it was by far the best teen comedy of 1985.

Considering that Just One of the Guys is a blatant teenage version of the 1982 Oscar-winning Tootsie, it’s quite the welcome surprise that it emerges as a first-rate, hilarious comedy that boasts three-dimensional characters, bright dialogue, excellent acting, and enough funny situations for ten movies of its type. It’s especially welcome in light of the overrated garbage having been turned out by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), whose overly schematic, dramatically square high-school tales deal in familiar stereotypes that Just One of the Guys deftly avoids; and because of this, its box-office prospects are probably not good given that most of the popcorn-munching masses prefer charicatures rather than people on the screen. The gorgeous Joyce Hyser stars as Terry Griffith, a student in her senior year whose dream it is to be a reporter; her Journalism class is the highlight of her school day, and with a wealthy and handsome college boyfriend her life is just about perfect. Except that is: her submission for an internship at a major publication has been rejected because it’s well-written but, well, dry -- it’s a textbook example of an article minus the acute observation that would make it stand out. But Terry insists to her male teacher that it’s because she’s a woman and she’s not being taken seriously (this isn’t the case, but she’s too proud to admit her writing is just-average), so she cuts her hair and enrolls under an alias as a guy at a neighboring school so she can submit her article there; granted, Hyser doesn’t look anymore a man than Linda Hunt did in The Year of Living Dangerously, but, then again, we’ve seen what Hyser looked like beforehand, so naturally our perception is tainted (but for the life of me I can’t see how she suppressed her considerable-size breasts we’re given the chance to ogle behind a skimpy bikini in one of the movie’s opening scenes). Terry inevitably finds herself feigning an excuse to the gym teacher why she can’t participate, what with the locker-room situation and the basketball scrimmages consisting of a shirts and a skin team, rebuffing the lustful advances of the school’s main hottie, Sandy (Sherilyn Fenn), who thinks Terry looks like the Karate Kid, but also finding herself attracted to a nondescript student, Rick (Clayton Rohner), who is more down-to-earth than her current vapid beau. Luckily, Terry’s parents are out of town for two weeks, and the only ones privy to her masquerade are her dateless best friend Denise (Toni Hudson) and her quintessentially-horny younger brother Buddy (Billy Jacobi), who habitually reads Playboy magazine even at the breakfast table while woofing down last night’s pizza. All are well-cast, well-acted, with Jacoby the standout -- he delivers his lines with the same kind pizzazz Michael Keaton did in Night Shift (“All balls itch! It’s a fact!”), and the movie gets a shot of energy whenever he’s onscreen. The developing Terry/Rick romance is believable, the scenes ripe with potential are fully realized more often that not, the directing by newcomer Lisa Gottlieb is adroit, and darned once the ending credits start to roll you feel you’ve witnessed something halfway genuine. Just One of the Guys may not exactly bring about world peace, but you’ll be glad you sat through it all the same.

Available only on a bare-bones DVD in full-frame.

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originally posted: 08/08/15 02:53:16
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell funny but dated 3 stars
10/23/16 david froman underated 80's cult classic 4 stars
8/03/05 ALDO Classic TBS movie. He has tits. 4 stars
5/11/05 Jeff Anderson Still hilarious after all these years. The cast is super, but Jacoby steals it GREATLY! 5 stars
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  26-Apr-1985 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Feb-2004



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