Hiding Out (1987)

6 Apr


Smith’s Verdict: **

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

“Hiding Out” is a confused movie. It’s unsure of where it wants to go with its premise. What is its premise? A 20something-year-old stockbroker masquerades as a high school student. OK, but why the masquerade? Oh, so he’ll hide out from mobsters setting out to kill him. Is this a crime thriller or a teenage comedy? Or is it a mixture of both? Does it work? Well, not really. The crime thriller elements are too broad and with the teenage comedy elements (that is, an adult is posing as a teenager in high school), we have the 20something main character developing (or trying to, anyway) a relationship with a high school girl. Sometimes, this is charming. But other times, it’s confused.

Jon Cryer plays Andrew Morenski, the 20something-year-old stockbroker (he has a beard so he’ll look younger later without it). He and his co-workers have been laundering money for a local crime boss, who sends a few men out to kill him. They kill one of his co-workers, who was already freaking out about this deal to begin with, and Andrew runs away and hides in his teenage nephew’s attic. (Already, this is sounding a little too contrived.)

So, Andrew shaves his beard, changes his hairstyle, and enrolls himself in his nephew’s (Keith Coogan) high school. He looks like a high school student, but his adult attitude is unlike the other students. Things get even more complicated (more for us than for him) when Andrew begins dating a teenage high school girl (Annabeth Gish).

There are some mild laughs in the movie, but I have to admit, I found quite a few of the comic situations to be charming and humorous. I liked Andrew’s response in the scene where he’s enrolling in the school and is asked what his previous school was—he says, “Cornell…High School!” Somewhat obvious, but still kind of funny. One absolutely great bit is where Andrew gives his new girlfriend’s father some advice about taxes. Some of the material is pleasant here and Jon Cryer is a likable lead. Also, Keith Coogan and Annabeth Gish are appealing supporting actors. But as a whole, “Hiding Out” doesn’t really work, especially when the bad guys are brought back into the film for a climax. These stock characters don’t work at all.

So to sum it up, “Hiding Out” has some pleasant moments but is sidetracked by an idiotic script device that seems to be the reason the plot has to go underway. I can’t recommend it, but I don’t hate it very much. But you may get less from this movie. In fact, you may groan when Andrew comes up with a fake name by looking at a Maxwell House coffee can and saying, “Maxwell Howser.”


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