It's risqu,e. It's frisky. It's "Risky Business," all about growing pains, sexual frustration and private enterprise. The film spotlights Tom Cruise -- latest entry in the summer's beefstakes. He's got it -- the sulky appeal of Matt Dillon, the nice-boy nice of Matthew Broderick, an easy style, a winning smile. He plays a flailing suburban boy, Joel Goodsen, whose fear of flying is resolved in a happy and profitable encounter with a Chicago call girl played by Rebecca De Mornay.
De Mornay, lithe, long-legged, invincibly lovely, acts the sensual entrepreneur, with a hard little mouth and eyes that melt only for profit. This hooker has no heart of gold, but an eye for it. As Joel discribes her, "It was great the way her mind worked. No doubts, no fears -- just the shameless pursuit of immediate material gratification. What a capitalist!"
Writer and first-time director Paul Brickman revamps the vamp, gives her a diamond-hard finish. She's clearly in charge here with the personality of a WAC DI, the business savvy of Henry Ford. She teaches Joel the tricks of her trade over a long week, while the folks are off on vacation. Then they really get down to business: His friends meet her friends; sex for fun and profit -- $8,000 in one night.
Cruise is a delight as the quintessential American kid, with an '80s outlook perhaps, but all the inadequacies of adolescence, except acne. He's a direct descendant of Holden Caulfield and "The Graduate," a bemused captive of his friends' bad advice, his parents' peckishness and Midwestern mores.
"Risky Business" is visually evocative, an extremely warm and sensual film, with some of the sexiest scenes since Debra Winger met Richard Gere. De Mornay, as Lana, walks into a suddenly surreal room, "Are you ready for me?" she asks. The wind blows open the French doors, leaves rustle into the living room. Wall-to-wall dreams come true.
The director and photographers Reynaldo Villalobos and Bruce Surtees are visual virtuosos. And the music, composed and performed by Tangerine Dream, is perfectly coordinated to the film. It's electric, appropriate, witty, hot and frequently makes the scene.
One we won't soon forget is Joel's first night at home after a glass of Chivas and Coke, an exuberant liberation dance to Bob Seger's "Keep Playing That Rock and Roll," danced in a pink Gant shirt, crew socks and Jockey shorts. We think we're in love.
Minors contribute to their own delinquency -- a welcome change from trash like "Class" -- turning us on to a few old tricks performed by a stable of new stars, right down to the supporting cast of Curtis Armstrong, Bronson Pinchot and Raphael Sbarge. It's illegal, it's tender, it's "Risky Business," best of the First Time genre.
RISKY BUSINESS -- At area theaters.