Fast Times At Ridgemont High


The grown-up teen-com that others could learn from.

Fast times at ridgemont high review

How’s this for a gnarly thought? It could’ve been David Lynch’s name on the Fast Times director’s chair.

Thankfully for the annals of teen comedy, the dark dream maestro gracefully conceded that it was “not really his material”, according to Cameron Crowe, whose giggly, secret-spilling chat-track (ported over from DVD) with director Amy Heckerling is this Blu-ray’s big plus.

Despite its everyday TV-movie looks and meandering storylines, what’s kept this high-school classic enduringly fresh and hilarious isn’t just the famous Judge Reinhold jerk-off (“My first love scene – and it’s with myself”) or Sean Penn’s stoned classroom face-offs.

It’s all about the fine, surprisingly underplayed performances. So both commentary and meaty nostalgic featurette are one big casting anecdote about finding everyone from Jennifer Jason Leigh’s sweetly self-destructive nymphet to Robert Romanus’ too-cool-for-school ticket scalper.

Check out the future stars relegated to “buddy status” too – Forest Whitaker’s bullish football giant, and Eric Stoltz and Anthony ER Edwards’ weed-wasted surfers.

Cameron Crowe’s undercover stint in a California high school also means that his script rings with real teen dilemmas about sex, dating, and faltering friendships, as well as with ’80s anthems like Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’.

Combined with the film’s darker side (those edgily realistic, clumsy sex scenes; a trip to the abortion clinic), it all gives an emotional heft to the film that other ribald comedy classmates like Porky’s and Animal House lack.

Like Penn’s Jeff Spicoli, all you need is this, some tasty waves and a cool buzz, and you’re, like, totally fine, dude.

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