A college student embarks on a cross-country road trip to California for the chance tohave sex with a gorgeous woman, but his plans go awry when he gets stuck hitchhikingwith a goody goody female classmate.
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The Sure Thing is another in the long line of romantic comedies released in 1985 starring John Cusack, helping to make it one of the better years of this past millennium. Cusack plays Walter ďGibĒ Gibson, formerly something of a stud in high school but suddenly finding his hot streak cooled upon going away to college in New England, because, surprisingly, his fun-loving hard partying waysí fail to impress the women who surround him who are all driven to be successful scholars or writers or businesswomen. One such girl from his English class, Allison Bradbury, particularly intrigues him. Allison is played by Daphne Zuniga, who youíll recognize as Princess Vespa from Spaceballs if, like me, you donít have a life.
Unfortunately for Gib, Allison invests most of her time in being a cold, uptight, know-itall who possesses the unfortunate drawback of aspiring to be a lawyer, and his ham-fisted attempts at wooing her only leave him looking like a jackass. So right away this film will instantly connect with any male viewers.
The end of the semester rolls around and Gib gets a phone call from his buddy in California telling him to come out for a visit L.A. over Christmas vacation. Of course, this is the 80s Hollywood version of what California is like, so a visit there is akin to a trip to the Garden of Eden, except sunnier and with more than one hot babe (in fact, seemingly nothing but hot babes). As if that wasnít enough to entice Gib, his buddy promises that one babe in particular, who is so hot she may or may not be made of magic, is a sure thing. In the film this seems to be a term understood with perfect clarity by the guys on both ends of the conversation, but for readers unfamiliar with the vernacular, Gib is essentially assured that, despite having no contract guaranteeing it and despite having never actually had any contact whatsoever with the babe in question, she will most surely have sexual intercourse with him, and then if he never, ever wants to speak to her again, thatís fine. You know, a sure thing. And we have a title. So Gib sets out on a trip across the country to have sex with an incredibly hot woman. Let it never be said this is not a completely believable scenario.
Gib is all set to blow off the parents who raised him for 18 years in favor of sex only to wind up on a road trip with none other than Allison, who is also on her way to California to see her boyfriend, a guy who turns out to be slightly less exciting than socks, and through a series of unfortunate missteps including one attempted rape (remember, this is from an era of filmmaking when attempted rape fit nicely into romantic comedies. See Pretty Woman), they find themselves hitchhiking across the country together.
So in short order weíre set up with a pretty familiar conflict between characters: heís a slovenly, fun-loving, passionate guy and sheís little miss perfect, precise ice queen. See, this is the problem with seeing these movies decades after they were made. This sort of setup may have been novel at one point, but at this point these characters have appeared in various media a few hundred times already. Fortunately, Cusack and Zuniga both play their respective roles so well itís hard to take exception, even if Allison is a little overthe-top in how stuck up she is. I mean, who refuses free beer for breakfast? Who does that?
The story moves along pretty predictably. Their personalities clash, they dislike each other, they bond over the shared experience of hitchhiking across this wide, boring country of ours, each in search of their respective hookups in California, all the while oblivious to the constantly growing sexual tension between them. Of course, despite her being beautiful and intelligent, Allison isnít readily considered as a romantic option by Gib because heís so excited by the prospect of having sex with The Sure Thing, and because The Sure Thing is a blonde and Allison is a brunette.
Bottom line, itís not the most novel concept, but Cusack and Zuniga have a lot of chemistry and the dialogue is always sharp and often laugh-out-loud funny, so overall itís a lot of fun to watch, even if itís not the most groundbreaking or memorable romantic comedy starring John Cusack to come out of 1985. Of course, in the sure hands of Rob Reiner itís hard to go wrong, at least, assuming weíre not watching The Bucket List orAlex & Emma or The Story of Us or North or you just disregard my point entirely.