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‘The Allnighter’ (PG-13)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 07, 1987

Please, stop me if you've seen this one before: On graduation eve, three fun-loving coeds at a California surfside college gear up for the hottest party of the year and experience the most memorable evening of their lives in the contemporary comedy {FILL IN THE BLANK}.

In this case, the blank is "The Allnighter," a perfectly dreadful film whose chief selling point is that it's the first starring role for Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs and that the director is none other than Mom, Tamar Simon Hoffs. Unfortunately, Hoffs junior makes an inauspicious leap from rock videos to the big screen; she's stiff, self-conscious and every time she smiles -- which is all too often -- she shows more teeth than Lionel Richie.

Although there's a lousy and incessant rock sound track, Hoffs doesn't even get to sing, but for those Bangles fans who have always wanted to know what she would look like in a bikini, this is it. At the end, she even gets to do a love scene, but since the film is rated PG-13, you know some parental guidance was exercised long before this went to the ratings board.

Theelder Hoffs cowrote this dreadful trifle with Margot Kessler, allegedly as a paean to youth-oriented beach movies from the '60s, but it's an unworthy son of a beach movie, little more than "Beach Blanket Bimbos." Susanna Hoffs plays Molly, the class valedictorian whose major regret is having gone through four years of college without a significant romance (she's looking for someone "cool, but smart, like Sam Shepard"). On the night before graduation, she sets out to cram in a last-minute experience with an older man, a '60s rock star (Michael Ontkean).

Molly's roommates have their own problems. Val (Dedee Pfeiffer, Michelle's sister) is hooked up with a revolting yuppie, while Gina (Joan Cusack, John's sister) is hooked up to her video camera. Both Pfeiffer and Cusack suggest more than their roles offer, and Cusack is especially intriguing visually, halfway between plump Botticelli beauty and Boy George in his better days.

Unfortunately, they're not the best-looking folks in the film. That honor falls to their surfing buddies, C.J. (John Terlesky) and Killer (James Anthony Shanta), whose philosophy can be summed up as "a babe in the kitchen is worth two on the beach." These are Valley Boys, stupid and self-absorbed, but they sure fit right into this film.

Notthat anyone should care, but there are some very slight detours in a plot that any 12-year-old could have written after watching MTV's "Spring Breaks." The Hoffs family and everyone else should pray this one sinks like a stone.

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