Risky Business

Risky Business Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
2.7

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 104 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A high school senior is tired of being Mr. All-American and facing such traumatic decisions as which Ivy League college to attend. His life gets turned around when he meets a sexy call girl who transforms his house into a brothel while his parents are away. (Warner Bros.)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 100
    The very best thing about the movie is its dialogue. Paul Brickman, who wrote and directed, has an ear so good that he knows what to leave out.
  2. 90
    Taking off from the format of a typical teenage sex comedy, Brickman deepens the characters and tightens the situations, filming them in a dark, dreamlike style full of sinuous camera movements and surrealistic insinuations. Brickman found a tone I hadn't encountered previously - one of haunting, lyrical satire.
  3. Smart, stylish, and cynical about the values of its time, this movie aspires to be The Graduate for its generation and it comes pretty close.
  4. 70
    Risky Business is like a promising first novel, with all the pros and cons that come with that territory.
  5. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    Risky Business is the sleeper of the summer. It's a refreshing change from the usual dumb teenage ripoffs, the slickest American film since "Trading Places" and "War Games," and a strong directorial debut for Paul Brickman, who knows his way around teen fantasies. [05 Aug 1983]
  6. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    60
    It’s "Ferris Bueller" with an existential crisis. Very funny and very weird.
  7. Risky Business improves as it goes along.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Apr 7, 2016
    10
    "Risky Business" is a movie about male adolescent guilt. In other words, it's a comedy. It's funny because it deals with subjects that are so"Risky Business" is a movie about male adolescent guilt. In other words, it's a comedy. It's funny because it deals with subjects that are so touchy, so fraught with emotional pain, that unless we laugh there's hardly any way we can deal with them -- especially if we are now, or ever were, a teenage boy.

    The teenager in the movie is named Joel. His family lives in a suburb on Chicago's North Shore. It's the sort of family that has three cars: the family station wagon, Mom's car, and Dad's Porsche. As the movie opens, Mom and Dad are going off on vacation to a sun-drenched consumer paradise and their only son, Joel, is being left alone at home. It's a busy time in Joel's life. He's got college board exams, an interview with a Princeton admissions officer, and finals at high school.

    It gets to be an even busier time after his parents leave. Joel gets involved in an ascending pyramid of trouble. He calls a number in one of those sex-contact magazines and meets a young hooker who moves into the house. He runs afoul of the girl's pimp. His mother's expensive Steuben egg is stolen. His dad's Porsche ends up in Lake Michigan. The family home turns into a brothel. He blows two finals. And so on.

    This description may make "Risky Business" sound like a predictable sitcom. It is not. It is one of the smartest, funniest, most perceptive satires in a long time. It not only invites comparison with "The Graduate," it earns it. Here is a great comedy about teenage sex.

    The very best thing about the movie is its dialogue. Paul Brickman, who wrote and directed, has an ear so good that he knows what to leave out. This is one of those movies where a few words or a single line says everything that needs to be said, implies everything that needs to be implied, and gets a laugh. When the hooker tells the kid, "Oh, Joel, go to school. Learn something," the precise inflection of those words defines their relationship for the next three scenes.

    The next best thing about the movie is the casting. Rebecca De Mornay somehow manages to take that thankless role, the hooker with a heart of gold, and turn it into a very specific character. She isn't all good and she isn't all clichés: She's a very complicated young woman with quirks and insecurities and a wayward ability to love. I became quietly astounded when I realized that this movie was going to create an original, interesting relationship involving a teenager and a hooker. The teenage kid, in what will be called the Dustin Hoffman role, is played by Tom Cruise, who also knows how to imply a whole world by what he won't say, can't feel, and doesn't understand.

    This is a movie of new faces and inspired insights and genuine laughs. It's hard to make a good movie and harder to make a good comedy and almost impossible to make a satire of such popular but mysterious obsessions as guilt, greed, lust, and secrecy. This movie knows what goes on behind the closed bathroom doors of the American dream.
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  2. Apr 21, 2012
    8
    I am legitimately pissed off that I just saw this movie because it's way better than what I thought it was going to be. I cannot believe II am legitimately pissed off that I just saw this movie because it's way better than what I thought it was going to be. I cannot believe I deprived myself of such an amazing movie the past twenty years of my life. I guarantee this movie stays a classic even a century from now. Expand
  3. JayH.
    Aug 31, 2008
    7
    Clever plot, and in spite of Tom Cruise being in it, it's a good movie. Nice performances. Funny, well written and directed with style. Clever plot, and in spite of Tom Cruise being in it, it's a good movie. Nice performances. Funny, well written and directed with style. Good flick. Expand
  4. Jan 28, 2016
    7
    Risky Business is arguably Tom Cruises break out role that made him who he is today. It is a film with a rather simplistic plot but thatRisky Business is arguably Tom Cruises break out role that made him who he is today. It is a film with a rather simplistic plot but that doesn't take away from the movie. The film was a very enjoyable and kind of sexy at times being a raunchy teen flick. The movie has an awesome dance scene and is a very quotable movie. Risky Buisiness can be predictable at times but has enough new to not seem cle-shade. Definitely worth a watch. Expand
  5. Feb 15, 2013
    7
    A short, basic film which, although very cheesey, predictable and scripted; is still good entertainment. It's catchy, funny andA short, basic film which, although very cheesey, predictable and scripted; is still good entertainment. It's catchy, funny and straightforward. It doesn't fall into a particular category or anything, so it's something for everyone. Expand

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