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  Hard to Hold You'll Be Glad That You're Not Rick's Girl
Year: 1984
Director: Larry Peerce
Stars: Rick Springfield, Janet Eilber, Patti Hansen, Albert Salmi, Gregory Itzin, Peter Van Norden, Bill Mumy, Tony Fox Sales, Mike Baird, Robert Popwell, Tracy Brooks Swope, Heather Haase, Carole Tru Foster, Gary Goodrow, Frank Ronzio, Harry Northup
Genre: Comedy, Romance, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jamie Roberts (Rick Springfield) is enjoying the fruits of his labours as one of the biggest pop stars in America, he has just performed a concert in front of thousands of fans and races offstage to his dressing room, his adoring followers grabbing at him until he can close the door. Alone at last, he can take a shower, but when he's still naked and wet with a towel to cover his modesty, his co-writer Nicky Nides (Patti Hansen) takes a tantrum, threatening Jamie's staff with a broken bottle so the star makes a quick exit out of a side door only to find himself in a corridor with no way back in. Therefore he must run along backstage almost entirely naked, the towel falling off, until he meets roadie Casserole (Peter Van Norden) who he borrows a huge pair of trousers from...

How the other half lives, huh? But the night ain't over for Jamie yet, as he climbs into a sportscar which he promptly crashes into a woman driving in the opposite direction, and this was Hard to Hold's idea of a meet cute, except as with everything else in the movie there was very little cute about it as it appeared to have been conceived as a maniac's idea of a romantic comedy. Not that it was a comedy all the way through, there were serious bits later on, though they were a lot funnier than anything here we were intended to take comically, and lo! Rick Springfield's career in light rock was swiftly derailed by one shabby movie. He had been recording since the sixties when he made it big with the number one smash Jessie's Girl, but thereafter the popularity tailed off significantly.

It's the old showbiz story, who can tell why yesterday's celebrity is today's hasbeen, but Springfield did manage to sustain his career even after it had gone quiet, so there was kind of a happy ending - he had the acting to fall back on, though he didn't secure a job in that capacity until a good five years after his big movie had flopped. This left a curious relic of the eighties, tone deaf when it came to its aims for the funny bone and the heartstrings, but from that unpromising material often a camp classic can be forged. That wasn't the case here, as if even Rick's fans rejected it you can well understand why nobody else has been moved to take it to their bosom and adopt it as something worth a look for the bad movie aficionados, and when you watch it that's clearer still.

Featuring an opening twenty minutes that would put anyone off him, Springfield spends half of it nude, apparently aiming to send the ladies wild with his belated pin-up status, then the script had an uphill climb as it took the car crash victim Diana (ballet dancer Janet Eilber) - don't worry, nobody was injured - and set her up as a surrogate audience member who was not interested in Springfield's music. Why this was the best choice is baffling, but the way Jamie goes about it is basically stalking her to prove that his stardom really can buy him anything he wants (gee, that's an attractive trait, right?), and when he finally gets to shag her, he reacts to Diana immediately throwing him out of her home with thanks but no thanks by smashing her window.

Ah, romance must be in the air after that, but Diana is, shall we say, somewhat inconsistently written and Eilber has her work cut out making her seem like a real person and not some amateurish construct, a fantasy figure for all those rock stars in the audience. Jamie does win her over and talk naturally turns to herpes, the movie's idea of humour, though you may be getting more laughs out of Albert Salmi as Diana's drunkard father who is an embarrassment to her - that's correct, more embarrassing than Jamie showing up to meet him at the dockyard dressed in an Admiral's uniform. Nothing about this seems to exist in any known universe; take the sequence where the couple spend five minutes running away from crazed fans: when they do escape and hide in the bushes Diana demands Jamie make love to her there and then. Business with the singer's album delays is boring (Hansen married Keith Richards, you'd have thought she'd like a break from that stuff), Bill Mumy plays keyboards, a tiny replica of the boat from Jaws appears chased by a shark, and not once is Jessie's Girl heard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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