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Racy suburban comedy about a party-loving teen who is living the high life while his parents are out of town until a mishap with his father's Porsche requires some quick cash. The enterprising youth turns pimp and starts an escort service for his slavering chums. But things get complicated when business booms and he falls for one of his "employees."
For more about Risky Business and the Risky Business Blu-ray release, see Risky Business Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on September 24, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Paul Brickman
Writer: Paul Brickman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Curtis Armstrong, Bronson Pinchot, Raphael Sbarge, Joe Pantoliano
» See full cast & crew
Risky Business Blu-ray Review
Teen noir goes blu
Reviewed by Ben Williams, September 24, 2008
Among the yearly onslaught of teen and adolescent comedies, not many actually contain content that might appeal to adults. Sure, some like Superbad are rife with big laughs and enough silly situations to entertain almost anyone, but even those rare few miss the drama that almost always accents anything remotely funny that happens in the life of a teenager going through the often portrayed rough final year of high school. And that, my friends, is where Risky Business comes in. It's an extremely rare example that combines plenty of comedic moments with a more dramatic tone and presents adolescent situations is a decidedly grown-up manner. Risky Business, some twenty-five years after its initial release, remains fresh, relevant and completely engrossing.
Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) is your typical suburban overachiever. He's in his last year of High School and the pressures of college acceptance are starting to get to him. High expectations from his parents, his friends as well as society in general have put Joel in a state of near panic. Add in to that his troubles with the opposite sex, and Joel needs something to change in his life - - quickly. Fortunately, Joel's parents are heading out of town for a few weeks leaving Joel with some much needed freedom. One lonely and desperate night, Joel will have an encounter with a prostitute named Lana (Rebecca Demornay) that will throw his life into a state of disarray. Can he pull things back together before his parents make it back home?
Risky Business is just one of those movies that never gets old. I can't even imagine how many times I've seen it, but the plight of Joel and his friends never seems to grow tiresome. For a supposed comedy, Risky Business has always played out more like a drama for me. Joel is constantly threatened by Lana, her pimp Guido (Joe Pantoliano), the fear of his parent's return to town, his teachers and administrators at school, potential failure at getting into a good college - - the list goes on. To say that Joel's situation is a nightmare would be an understatement. At any rate, I'm trying to tread lightly with plot details for the film as one of its great joys is in experiencing just how this mess of a situation finds resolution.
Risky Business marked Tom Cruise's first starring film role and it's easy to see why the film propelled him to almost instant stardom. He's great in the role and plays Joel in a manner that really underscores how this terminally naïve teenager undergoes such a rapid transformation. Rebecca De Mornay is also quite good as Lana, portraying someone both alluring and scarily street smart. Her exact motives are never made perfectly clear in the film and she is the movie's biggest question mark. I've also always enjoyed the performance from Curtis Hanson as Joel's obnoxious friend Miles. I'm sure many of you will remember Mr. Hanson from his work as the legendary "Booger" in Revenge of the Nerds. Also worth noting, is an early appearance from Bronson Pinchot, who would later go on to a successful career on television's "Perfect Strangers." The most sinister character in Risky Business is easily Guido, Lana's pimp and the architect of Joel's strife in the film. Pantoliano plays Guido with a playful glee and seems to really enjoy terrorizing a rich-kid suburbanite. I'd be doing Risky Business a severe disservice if I didn't mention the film's terrific score from Tangerine Dream. It as unique as film music gets and adds a haunting element to what unfolds on screen.
Seeing Risky Business for the first time in years was an instant reminder of why this film has achieved the label of being a classic. It's terrifically entertaining, genuinely suspenseful and one of a kind. I highly recommend Risky Business.
Risky Business Blu-ray, Video Quality
Risky Business arrives on Blu-ray from Warner Brothers sporting a fine 1080p transfer utilizing the VC-1 compression codec. The film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and has aged extremely well. Risky Business has never been a typical looking film. Stylistically, the film features a number of stylized scenes that border on noir at times and even cross over into territory that might look at home in a Michael Mann film. Just take a look at the film's opening slow-motion sequence of Chicago's "El" train. It's the perfect way to open a film and show that the audience is in for something quite a bit more interesting than the typical teenybopper fodder.
Warner has done a fine job with this restoration of Risky Business. The restored source material is clean and well preserved and the film shows natural and appropriate film grain. Colors are also well represented, if a bit muted stylistically. Black levels are nicely rendered and detail is well preserved. I've never seen Risky Business look this good before and I'm thrilled to have the film in my library in such fantastic condition. Recommended!
Risky Business Blu-ray, Audio Quality
While not a sonic tour-de-force, Risky Business does benefit greatly from Warner's inclusion of a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The primary benefactor of this TrueHD track's greater fidelity is the film's outstanding score from avante garde electronic composers Tangerine Dream. The film's score moves around the soundstage effectively with firmly rooted bass and an almost supernatural ambience that fills the listening environment. It really is a wonderful presentation of a film score that is not only underrated, but truly innovative.
Being primarily a dialogue driven film, Risky Business again benefits from Dolby TrueHD by presenting dialogue in a crisp, clear and easily intelligible manner. On the surround front, there isn't much to write home about with Risky Business, save a car chase and the occasional ambient fill. All told, this isn't a track that's going to blow anyone out of the water, but for fans of the film, the upgrade is clear and appreciated.
Risky Business Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
- Risky Business the 25th Anniversary Retrospecive
- Screen Tests
- Alternate Ending
- Theatrical Trailer
- Picture-in-Picture Commentary
While not the most comprehensive set of extra features ever delivered onto Blu-ray. I was impressed with what Warner was able to dig out of the vaults for Risky Business. Most impressive, is the set's Picture-in-Picture commentary featuring Producer Jon Avnet, Director Paul Brickman and star Tom Cruise. It's a rare occasion when Mr. Cruise sits down for anything resembling a commentary, so this is something of a rare treat for Cruise fans. The track is insightful and flows quite well with all three participants adding in nice tidbits of information on a production that took place twenty-five years ago. The 25th Anniversary Retrospective featurette is a little on the weak side, though. I felt that it only scratched the surface of the importance of the film. The other big news with this supplementary set is in its inclusion of the film's much talked about alternate ending. Director Paul Brickman states that this is his preferred ending for the film, but I'll leave it up to viewers to make that determination. The theatrical trailer and screen tests round out the set.
Risky Business Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Risky Business is one of my favorite films of the early eighties. You can slap any kind of interpretation of the film's meaning on to it, but in the end, it is simply a suspenseful and entertaining piece of work. Acting is great across the board and the film's unique soundtrack creates a genuinely strange atmosphere for the film. This Blu-ray set's restored video is a great upgrade from the previous DVD versions of the film and really gives Risky Business the true film look that it has been missing since its theatrical release. Audio is also well presented with the Dolby TrueHD track really bringing the music and dialog forward in the mix. In addition, the supplemental packaged offered on this release also contains a few surprises with a rare Tom Cruise video commentary and the film's original ending. I'm proud to finally have a high quality version of Risky Business in my film library. This is a fantastic film that continues to show how timeless its subject matter is. Highly recommended!
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Risky Business Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - September 16th - September 16, 2008
The biggest releases this week actually come for one of the smallest major studios. After a nasty divorce with Disney, Harvey and Bob Weinstein left the Miramax name behind and formed The Weinstein Company. While their film library may be small - they only retained ...
• Risky Business Blu-ray Gets TrueHD - July 22, 2008
Warner Home Video has revealed that the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Risky Business' will now include a Dolby TrueHD track instead of the previously planned Dolby Digital track. Last week, Warner admitted that some press material was being sent out with incorrect ...
• Specs Announced for Risky Business Blu-ray - July 1, 2008
Warner Home Video has revealed the specs for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Risky Business: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition', due to hit store shelves on September 16th, day-and-date with the DVD re-release. Video has been restored and remastered, and will be ...
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