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The Sure Thing
cast: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards, Viveca Lindfors, and Nicollette Sheridan

director: Rob Reiner

91 minutes (15) 1984 widescreen ratio 16:9
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail
[released 22 August]

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
One of Rob Reiner's largely forgotten early films this is one-part 1980s' teen sex comedy and one part classic 'odd couple' bickering. The plot follows Gib (Cusack) as he tries to get to California for Christmas break where his best friend is waiting for him. Gib's had a lousy first year at college, is in the process of flunking English and is only persuaded to make the nightmarish trip across country by his friend's promise of a 'sure thing' with a girl he knows.

His travelling companion on this odyssey is Helen, a fellow student who Gib manages to strike out spectacularly with earlier in the term. Where Gib is easygoing and relaxed, Helen is tightly compressed and uptight. While he wakes up nine minutes before a class, she has every minute of every day precisely scheduled.

What follows is inevitable, often extremely predictable but no less funny for that. This is entirely due to Cusack and Zuniga as the two leads. Very few people can bicker like these two and the rapid-fire interplay between the pair of them evokes the comedies of Cary Grant, or the superb double act of Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo in Mystery Men. Much of the film is little more than these two either screaming at one another or getting into ever more insane situations and as a result, much of the film is very, very funny.

However, Reiner manages to tug the heartstrings effectively as well. Gib's rescue of Helen from a lecherous driver is both very funny and kind whilst the moment where they apparently separate, Helen to get on a bus and Gib to sleep on a bench is one of the best and most underplayed in the film. Their relationship evolves constantly, and Cusack and Zuniga do a superb job of showing that.

This is that rarest of beasts; a film that doesn't outstay its welcome or try and do anything more than simply entertain the audience. The Sure Thing is nothing more than a sweet, funny romantic comedy with two top-flight leads and some great support from the likes of Tim Robbins (as a nightmarishly perky fellow student) and Anthony Edwards. It's neither big nor clever but it doesn't need to be either. Great fun and well worth checking out for the Cusack and Zuniga double act.

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