Director Howard Deutch and Writer John Hughes teams up for their first collaboration in the classic romantic comedy "Pretty in Pink." The title returns to the DVD format with the "Everything's Duckie" special collector's edition. Joining John Hughes again in this picture is Molly Ringwald in the lead role and marking the third time the red-haired actress was the lead in a John Hughes film. Hughes had previously directed Molly Ringwald in "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles." With a great cast and Hughes' wonderful writing, "Pretty in Pink" is a cute little comedy that brings back the colorful and odd Eighties in this new DVD edition.
Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts and James Spader are among the familiar names that appeared in this 1986 production. Andrew McCarthy, Gina Gershon and Andrew Dice Clay are among other familiar faces that lent their talents to "Pretty in Pink." Ringwald, Cryer and McCarthy are the three actors who are thrust into a love triangle (a theme mirrored in the other Hughes/Deutch collaboration "Some Kind of Wonderful") and all three are entertaining and believable as love struck teens. McCarthy and Ringwald are especially good as high school seniors who are from conflicting cliques, but find strong feelings for one another.
Jon Cryer is Duckie, the lifelong friend of Ringwald's Andie Walsh and somebody that is oblivious to pretty much everything, but his feelings for Andie. Cryer's performance is whiny, over-the-top and meant to provide the laughs. The audience either loves Duckie or hates Duckie. Personally, Duckie annoyed me tremendously throughout the film. There were times when I laughed, but Duckie was so pathetic in his stalking and lust for Andie and tremendously boring in his woe-is-me pouting that the character wallows in for over half the film. The DVD edition is titled after the character and I know a good many people who think Jon Cryer deserves tremendous praise for his role, but I felt "Pretty in Pink" would have been a better film is everything wasn't quite so ducky.
Annie Potts and James Spader play friends of the two principal actors. Potts is the older friend of Andies and is hopelessly trying to pass as a younger woman and ignore her true age. She is a voice of reason for Andie and also helps keep Duckie from slitting his throat over Andie wanting to be with Andrew McCarthy's character, Blane McDonnagh. James Spader is Steff, a rich creep who thinks his friend needs beaten for dating a poor girl. Spader's performance reminded me heavily of the film he starred in just before taking part in "Pretty in Pink." That film, "The New Kids" found Spader as a redneck creep who thought he was the absolute most incredible male around. In "Pretty in Pink," he is a rich creep who thinks he is absolutely the most incredible male around. Spader's truly can be a great creep.
The movie is a cute little romantic comedy where writer John Hughes once again looks at love crossing social boundaries during teenage years. As was the case with "Some Kind of Wonderful," the best friend finds themselves pitted against one of the characters, but ultimately finds themselves thinking differently of the love interest. In "Pretty in Pink," the best friend is left out of a relationship and with all of Duckie's pouting and wallowing, I didn't feel bad for him. "Pretty in Pink" is more romantic than it is funny, at least it is if you simply cannot wait for the comedic relief to leave the screen. When the film is compared to the rest of the Molly Ringwald/John Hughes trilogy, it takes the last spot. "The Breakfast Club" is far superior and "Sixteen Candles" is a better film. Perhaps having Hughes hand over the directorial reigns to Howard Deutch is the reason, but Deutch and Hughes other film "Some Kind of Wonderful" is a good film.
I am half tempted to just copy and paste my text from yesterday's review of "Some Kind of Wonderful" for both the video and sound sections of "Pretty in Pink." The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is pretty clean and decently detailed. It is not nearly as visually striking as more recent films and its colors are a slight improvement over "Some Kind of Wonderful." There is a lot of pink in this film. The Eighties were an interesting time where colors were either neon and over-the-top in color or dull. "Pretty in Pink" has a palette that preserves the era's choice in colors. Since this DVD edition is all about Duckie, the character finds himself wearing dull paisley print (I remember having some of those shirts) or bright colored solids. The actor's faces seem a bit oversaturated, but look pretty good. The print used for this DVD was in very good condition and I can't remember seeing a single flaw in the source materials.
Part of the reason I didn't copy over my text from the other review was because I tied the review to a Huey Lewis song that had the same name as the film. In "Pretty in Pink," we are treated to multiple uses of the Psychedelic Furs song "Pretty in Pink." A few other notable tunes nicely preserve the Eighties, but a few that date even older than the film are among the better ones. "Try a Little Tenderness" by the incomparable Otis Redding and "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow were more familiar than most of the other tunes used in the film. As for the film's Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, it sounds pretty good. It is a bit confined to the front soundstage, but the mix is clean and clear. Dialogue is pretty good. The soundtrack is carried nicely. For a film this old, it sounds just duckie. A Dolby Digital 2.0 Pro Logic soundtrack is included for improved listening when a 5.1 speaker setup is not available.
The "Pretty in Pink: Everything's Duckie Edition" features a nice array of supplements. Paramount did a great job of improving upon their original bare-bones DVD release. Director Howard Deutch returns for the Commentary by Director Howard Deutch. Deutch lends some nice information to the production and to the talent. He especially liked John Cryer as Duckie. Hughes had intended for the film to be for Molly Ringwald and the actress almost passed on the offer. That and other juicy nuggets can be heard in the commentary track when Deutch is not sitting back and watching the film with you.
The First Time: The Making of Pretty in Pink is a thirteen minute making of vignette featuring footage from both 1985 and 2006. Howard Deutch again returns to talk about his picture. There was definitely a formula in the producing of supplements for the two Howard Deutch/John Hughes DVD re-releases. Short, but interesting. Zoids and Richies is almost twenty minutes long and discuses the characters and other aspects of the personas in the film. I don't necessarily remember the term Zoids and though my time in High School started when this film's class graduated, it is foreign. You do learn more about the actors and the characters. Prom Queen: All About Molly is a thirteen minute look at the actress for whom the film was written. This was all about Molly Ringwald. She doesn't look too much different in 2006 than she did back then. The actress has aged well. The last featurette on the first page of the extras menu is Volcanic Ensembles. This is a ten minute look at the costume design of the picture.
The second page of supplements delivers more nice bits of value added content. Prom Stories is a short three minute discussion with the actors and crew and their own prom memories. Andrew McCarthy didn't go to his own prom. Favorite Scenes are scenes taken from the film that were liked by the director and the rest of those responsible for the film. These eight scenes includes both the scenes and those who are discussing the scenes. Using the "Play All" choice shows they run for about twenty minutes in their entirety. The Lost Dance: The Original Ending is a twelve minute look at the film's original ending with John Cryer and others. Interestingly, the film's novelized version featured this ending and not the one shown in the theatrical release. They discuss why the ending was not used and after everybody discusses it, you realize that you never got to see the scene. That was disappointing. Wrap Up: The Epilogue are final thoughts from everybody on their experiences on making the film and a Photo Gallery is also provided.
"Pretty in Pink" is a ‘cute' film. It is a good romantic comedy that takes a look at how a rich kid can fall in love with a poor girl and the two can fight off their friend's dislike of the love interest's social standing. I never particularly liked the character of Duckie and that reason alone keeps me from considering this film as being more than just ‘good.' Molly Ringwald was the age of the character she played in the film and as a young actress, she was quite good. This is a film that is cherished by many and Paramount has certainly done a good job of brining the movie back onto DVD with a very nice collector's edition. The sound and video are good and the supplements are numerous and nicely detail the experience of making the picture.