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'Some Kind of Wonderful' (PG-13)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 27, 1987

"Some Kind of Wonderful" is "Pretty in Pink" for the opposite sex -- sort of a "Bothered in Blue" for the boys -- from teen-movie tycoon John Hughes, who just never seems to outgrow his themes.

Say what you will about this nerdnik for life, Hughes' coming-of-age comedies sure beat the cheap peep shows of the '70s and the beach-blanket inanities of the baby boom age. Except for "Weird Science," Hughes has treated teen tribulations -- like no date on prom night -- with the gravity they deserve. These are, after all, the traumas that hound us for the rest of our lives.

So "Wonderful" is lighter and less filling than usual, a dating-disaster comedy written and produced by Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch. Eric Stoltz stars as working-class Keith, a high school senior with a crush on the unattainable Amanda Jones (professional teen-ager Lea Thompson as the most popular girl in school). But she is dating a snotty preppy (is there any other kind?) who warns, "I recommend you keep your eyes and your mind off my property."

But of course Keith continues to pine for Amanda, despite her beau's warnings and the advice of his best friend Drummer Girl (not the spy), a childhood buddy who now secretly loves the hero. Mary Stuart Masterson, a delicate blond, steals the show as the sensitive gal under the tomboy's leather jacket, her natural magnetism offsetting the story's predictability.

The rusty-haired Stoltz, the courageous adolescent of "Mask," has a bland role here, but no more so than in other Hughes middle-of-the-middleclass casts. Keith resents the preps and finally befriends the skinheads he meets in "Wonderful's" own meeting of "The Breakfast Club."

It's easy to empathize with Hughes' nobler adolescent themes, like finding your own path when the group is against you (kinda like screenwriters), but it is hard to sympathize with kids who feel left out because they don't have their own diamond earrings.

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