Johnny Be Good (1988)

29 Mar

johnny-be-good

Smith’s Verdict: *

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

What has Coach Hisler done to deserve such rotten treatment? Huh?

Here’s a nice guy that coaches football and hopes for the best for his star high school football player, wanting him to go to a better, smaller school than his brat of a star shoots for. And yet, he’s the butt of the player’s jokes and even at one point, the brat, along with his buddy, come over and seemingly asks for help in his English class, but no—it was a setup for a prank, in which pizza delivery boys bring along about 200 pizzas, and an elephant is delivered. And I’m pretty sure I remember Hare Krishnas dancing about the kitchen while the brat and buddy laugh uproariously.

The coach is the guy I’m supposed to hate? The brat is supposed to be our hero? The coach is the only likable character in this piece-of-crap, dim-witted teenage comedy “Johnny Be Good” and I don’t think it was intentional.

Wow, is this movie bad. And it’s far from funny. The laughs aren’t there, hardly any gag works, lines of dialogue are either forced or clichéd, and reality gives way to scenes that are either uncomfortable or unfunny. I have to wonder if this is a first draft. These are the people who wrote “Revenge of the Nerds,” an offbeat teenage comedy that had its share of funny moments. There’s nothing here that I remember even slightly chucking at.

Anthony Michael Hall is best-known as the teenage geek character in movies like “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Weird Science.” I guess he took this role to keep from being typecast. Which role am I referring to? The football hero. That’s right—Anthony Michael Hall as a high school football hero. Yeah…right.

I don’t mind that Hall wants to change his image, but he is completely miscast here as Johnny (Be Good, get it?…I don’t). He’s so bland that I was wishing his SNL persona would take over, or that Robert Downey, Jr. would smack some funny into him. Indeed, Robert Downey, Jr. co-stars as Johnny’s buddy. Downey, Jr. can be very funny, but he just doesn’t have much to work with here.

I didn’t care about popular Johnny’s quest for college—from Texas to California. I didn’t care about his relationship with his girlfriend (Uma Thurman in an all too generic role). I didn’t care that he was forbidden to see her because her father’s a hard-headed cop. I just didn’t care, nor did I ever laugh.

Paul Gleason plays the aforementioned coach, and you know you’re in trouble when you care more for the supposed antagonist.

“Johnny Be Good” is a bad movie that deserves no more words.

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