2018/03/31

Mediocre: Tuff Turf

Tuff Turf (1985)
Directed by Fritz Kiersch
Written by Greg Collins O'Neill, Murray Michaels, Jette Rinck
Produced by Donald P. Borchers, Pat Kehoe, Bob Manning
Starring James Spader, Kim Richards, Robert Downey Jr., Olivia Barash, Paul Mones, Panchito Gómez, Matt Clark, Claudette Nevins
Resettled from upscale Connecticut to Reseda, the mulish, coolly resourceful "teenage" son (Spader) of a newly necessitous nuclear family attends high school with other vicenarians, menaced by a street gang after scuttling a mugging and romancing the grouchy girlfriend (Richards) of their whiny, wacko honcho (Mones). Ministration from a classmate and drummer (Downey) he's befriended and numerous detours into other genres contribute as much to the improbability of this peerlessly preposterous crime drama as to its protagonist's amorous ambitions: when Spader isn't battered and bullied by his felonious opponents, he's euchring them at a gig of Downey's band (and impromptu dance-off), crashing a country club in Beverly Hills where he croons a bizarre ballad while his fresh friends filch food, patronizing a club where Richards' stunt double turns cartwheels to brassily tacky blue-eyed soul band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, and receiving astute advice dispensed by Dad (Clark). Whew! Goofier than its indulgence and bulging compass suggest, rotating poses, acts and lines (dubbed and otherwise) of Spader's first vehicle suggest a certain aspirated afflatus, but its beautiful boy carries every antic exploit with aplomb, with Downey more pretty and personable than their female co-stars. Giggle all you please, but don't try to rationalize it: this is Los Angeles, not reality.