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‘Loverboy’ (PG-13)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 29, 1989

From the evidence in "Loverboy," starring Patrick Dempsey, there's not a single sexually satisfied woman in all of Southern California. Love-starved and ignored, foxy blonds and brunets alike hunger for sexual healing, for an attentive ear, sweetness and caresses, a hairless young body. And, having alienated his father with his performance at college and offended his girlfriend (Nancy Valen) with his immature antics, young Randy (Dempsey) reluctantly throws himself into the breach as a delivery boy for Señor Pizza's, appearing on cue at the homes of all kinds of women, most of them married and approaching middle age, whenever there's an order for extra anchovies.

Lordy, what a chore.

Ostensibly, the reason Randy agrees to play amateur gigolo for a summer is that, at $200 a visit, he'll soon earn enough to replace the tuition money his father has withdrawn. Special emphasis is given to this motive so that he doesn't appear overly fond of his duties as "love doctor of Beverly Hills." And in fact, he isn't! Set up in business by an older woman (Barbara Carrera) who seduces him, then gives his number to others like her, Randy nearly has to drag himself out to the mansions of his customers.

Sex isn't always the order. One client, played by Kirstie Alley, would rather dance, and during their appointments she plays Fred Astaire records and teaches him to dip and spin. Alley, whose wardrobe consists entirely of leather and satin, flits in and out painlessly, as does Carrie Fisher, who, as another customer, has her poor body image massaged.

All in all, "Loverboy" could have been much coarser than it actually is. Care is taken (though with only limited success) not to totally humiliate the women in the cast. And director Joan Micklin Silver manages some deftly staged slapstick routines. But basically this is damage control. The film's premise is hopelessly ludicrous. Plus, though Patrick Dempsey is an agile light comedian, he's hardly plausible as a lady-killer. Patrick Swayze he's not. Alfalfa, maybe.

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