Picks and Pans Review: Risky Business

updated 08/08/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/08/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Tom (The Outsiders) Cruise plays an upstanding Chicago high school senior with proud parents, membership in the Future Enterprisers club, and aspirations to attend Princeton. When his folks go away on vacation, the boy is left in charge of the house, not to mention the Porsche. That may be an adolescent's dream, but in director Paul Brick-man's shrewdly observed, sexually charged comedy, wish fulfillment has some hilarious, nightmarish consequences. The house is invaded by newcomer Rebecca De Mornay, a $300-a-night hooker who won't leave. Mom's beloved crystal egg is stolen; Dad's Porsche ends up at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Ever enterprising, the son solves his problems with a one-night-only business venture that pairs up a houseful of his buddies with De Mornay's colleagues. The story may sound unseemly, but in fact Brickman (no relation to Woody Allen's pal Marshall) has fashioned a sweet-tempered, affectionate look at growing up good-hearted and guilt-ridden. As did his script for the 1977 cult comedy Handle With Care (also known as Citizens Band), with Candy Clark and Paul LeMat, this one delights in the quirky behavior of ordinary people; it's a sure-footed, accomplished directorial debut. Brickman gets able assistance from his two leads. Like his contemporary Matthew Broderick, Cruise exudes a basic decency that keeps smarminess at bay and credibility at hand. De Mornay provides the right combination of spunk and spark; she's the smarter sister of the hooker Nancy Allen played in Dressed to Kill. As adolescent adventures go, Risky Business is an invigorating, first-class affair: It manages to make coming of age a witty proposition. (R)

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