Well, there’ll be more about this movie later; there’s no surprise that, since it’s my pick for the worst acting of 2013, it’ll be showing up in my ten worst movies of the year. For now, let me just go through the performances. Of the cast members, only Tom Cruise seems to be trying to be more than a cartoonish carboard cutout. Cruise, admittedly, seems to recognize that this is his shot at stardom and he’s going to take it. But the rest of the cast is absolutely dreadful. Rebecca De Mornay, who is capable of good, if not great, acting, gives an absolutely brutally horrible performance as the young prostitute that turns Cruise’s world upside down. At first, you think she’s going for mystique; then you realize that she’s just wooden. Line readings? Monotone. Physical acting? Awkward. Bad stuff. Then there’s Joe Pantoliano as a ludicrously bland and unthreatening pimp; we know now that Pantoliano has more than this lame performance in him. What else can you say? Curtis Armstrong and Bronson Pinchot as the stereotypical, broadly played, eighties movie best friends. Nicholas Pryor and Janet Carroll as Joel’s parents never fail to overdo their line readings to an absurd degree. Then there’s that final party where all of Joel’s high school friends show up to canoodle with prostitutes; the acting is really broad by everyone concerned, but it’s even more troubling than that: the guys are cast to look about twelve years old while all the women are cast to appear to be in their early thirties. Statutory rape for the win! Got to give the casting director some credit on that one, amirite? The film is interesting; the director seems to have separated all the actors onto different teams: the Wooden and the Hammy. Who wins? Not the viewer.
Next time, we’ll jump back up to a more recent film, albeit one released prior to 2013. It’s a tentpole picture extraordinaire and the cast is a big reason why it succeeds as well as it does.