April 12, 2013

Just One of the Guys

Frustrated that nobody takes her seriously as a journalism student because she's an attractive girl, high-schooler Terry Griffith (Joyce Hyser) switches schools and assumes a new identity as a boy. Just One of the Guys (1985) is a charming teen comedy that navigates the terrain of a  "message movie" with surprising adeptness. While Terry is certainly incensed by the stereotypes that "gender" people's ambitions, she doesn't stay on a soapbox for the entire movie. It's just as much about her relationships--be they platonic, romantic, or somewhere in between--as it as about her mission to prove herself as a budding journalist and rankle the boys' club mentality that exists even at the high school level.

Along the way Terry meets a nice guy named Rick (Clayton Rohner), and the two form a confusing but genuine friendship, and she also manages to arouse both the sexual interest of an impressionable girl and the disdain of a musclebound bully. Just One of the Guys has everything you could ever want in a movie: gender confusion, bad fashion, nerds who pretend to be aliens doing "research" on adolescent earthlings, a pretty awesome scene where Rick stands up to the bully who terrorizes all the unpopular kids in the school, and then of course there's Terry's sexually insatiable younger brother, Buddy (Billy Jacoby), whose idea of good interior decorating is covering his bedroom walls with Playboy centerfolds.

It's not a brilliant movie by any means, but it's a fun one. And are there any movies geared toward teenagers nowadays that are half as smart or as bold as this one? I ask you! Directed by Lisa Gottlieb. With Toni Hudson, William Zabka, Leigh McCloskey, Sherilyn Fenn, Deborah Goodrich, and Stu Charno. 100 min.

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