The Sure Thing (1985)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Road Movie, Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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One of the first in the early directorial hit parade of former actor Rob Reiner, The Sure Thing proved his instincts were just as smart for romantic comedy as they were for faux documentary following This Is Spinal Tap, his brilliant debut. John Cusack (only 18 at the time of filming, the actual correct age for his character) made a splash in his first lead role, earning him a bunch of ensuing parts clearly inspired by his madcap Walter "Gib" Gibson, whom he plays to perfection. The result is a minor classic among both teen coming-of-age comedies and road movies. Gib's cross-country quest to end his dry spell with a bikini-clad babe (Nicollette Sheridan) is pure '80s cheese, but otherwise, the film barely feels dated. Constantly wittier than expected, The Sure Thing also captures a truly perceptive nostalgia for life in the first year of college. Although it boasts funny supporting performances from Boyd Gaines, as the too-square-by-half boyfriend of Gib's sparring partner and romantic interest (Daphne Zuniga), and Anthony Edwards, as Gib's best friend, this film really belongs to the charming clowning of Cusack. Whether he's plunging fully clothed into a swimming pool to get Zuniga's attention or pretending to be an insane hitchhiker to scare off a horny truck driver, there's a spark constantly dancing in those eyes. It nicely foreshadows the career Cusack has come to have, playing goofy average guys who effortlessly win audience sympathy. Add in a sharp script by Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts, and this lighthearted outing is as good a guarantee of enjoyment as its title suggests.