Smooth Talk

Director: Joyce Chopra
Year Released: 1985
Rating: 2.0

  Typical 80's "rebellious" teenager - and male posterior enthusiast - Connie (Laura Dern) spends her summer going to the beach and the mall with her friends, flirting with boys, catching flack from her Mother (Mary Kay Place) for not being a goody two-shoes like her sister June (Elizabeth Berridge) ... and eventually has an "encounter" with a very aggressive man named Arnold Friend (Treat Williams, rocking those Aviators) who wants to take her "for a ride."  Screenwriter Cole adapted this from Joyce Carol Oates' justifiably famous (and ominous) short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" (which I've actually taught!) and tried to expand it, but until the ending it never feels like anything but a glorified after-school special ... plus the soundtrack is hideous.  I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for showing the awkwardness of youth and the strength of Dern's performance (she was around 18 herself at the time it was shot), but it the insinuation that what ends up being sexual assault makes one "wiser" and "worldly" is icky.  The More You Know ... and all that.