Login

Say Anything Review

Image for Say Anything

Sporty high-school senior Lloyd is entranced by aloof protege Diane, who is closely guarded by her dad. When she is offered the chance of a lifetime to study in England, she must decide on here affections as well as her future.

★★★★

Sporty high-school senior Lloyd is entranced by aloof protege Diane, who is closely guarded by her dad. When she is offered the chance of a lifetime to study in England, she must decide on here affections as well as her future. Say Anything never did manage a cinema airing, despite an extraordinary thumbs-up in America. Last year a round-up of US critics' favourite releases ranked it with Henry V, Do The Right Thing, My Left Foot and Roger & Me, but Fox insisted that cinema scheduling made a theatrical release impossible in the UK.

It's baffling, because Simpsons producer James L. Brooks and former teenage prodigy rock journalist with Rolling Stone turned Fast Times At Ridgemont High author Cameron Crowe, here making his debut as director, have crafted a hugely enjoyable teen pic. It mixes pathos and repartee; and, for once, the plot's primary preoccupation isn't the pursuit of sex. Instead it adopts a refreshingly mature approach to a story we've seen many times before. Diana (Skye) is pretty but prissy, a straight-A high school student, the kind of Daddy's Girl who plumps for Pa over Ma in divorce custody proceedings. Lloyd (Cusack) is the nonconformist offspring of a US Army Colonel who lives with his single-parent sister and practises Bruce Lee drop-kicks on his baby nephew. She has a prestigious biochemistry scholarship awaiting her in England, he retains aspirations of becoming a professional kickboxer.

A more incongruous pair you'd be pushed to match, but after agreeing to date number one, she falls for his charms. Daddy Court (Mahoney), understandably, feels somewhat alienated and indeed miffed at his beloved baby's sudden transfer of affections: cue much relationship questioning and strenuous soul-searching. So Diane dumps Lloyd, but just as soon as Pop's back as her main man, a tax investigation into his nursing home exposes him as a crook. The performances, in particular Cusack's, are solid, the angst painfully plausible and the humour very, very funny. There's no saccharine Happy Ending either - instead we get a remarkably satisfying one. Watch out for an uncredited walk-on from Dan Castellenetta as Diane's teacher.

Rewarding if slightly off-beat, and genuinely funny

More from Empire