Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Risky Business


That old myth of the whore with the heart of gold is a durable one. Maybe because men like to believe they have the power to turn these woman away from a life of crime and degradation? I dunno, but just look at it. There was Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke. (Okay, she was a madam, since she owned the Long Branch, but you don’t get to be a madam without working your way up.) There was Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Jane Fonda in Klute. Shirley MacLaine in Irma la Douce. Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places. Those are real famous ones; there are plenty of others. Now, I can’t say that it never happens, but I think it’s mostly a fairy tale.

This one is even further out, asking us to believe that a dozen fantastically pretty call girls would go out to the rich suburbs of the Chicago North Shore and earn a lot of money from the rich kids out there … which is highly unlikely, but still a lot of fun. The whole movie is fun. This is the part that made Tom Cruise a big star, and you can see why. He is incredibly handsome, and has loads of charisma. (This was in the days before his poor little brain was warped by Scientology.) He plays a high school senior who is very worried about getting into a top school, and somehow finds himself deeply involved with a beautiful hooker (Rebecca de Mornay), running away from a pimp named Guido, and fishing his father’s Porsche out of Lake Michigan. It’s all in good fun, and very well-written and well-acted.