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Pretty in Pink: Everything's Duckie Edition

As dopey, dated and drenched in the '80s as Pretty in Pink is, it still manages to get across an uncanny sense of what it felt like to be a teenager. Molly Ringwald plays Andie Walsh, a lower-class iconoclast who dresses in that thrift-store-meets-Madonna sort of way that John Hughes' movies would have you believe was all the rage. Andie lives on the wrong side of the tracks with her good-hearted but unemployed dad (Harry Dean Stanton), hangs out with her clownish best pal Duckie (Jon Cryer), and works in a hipster record store with the sorta-punk/sorta-new-wave Iona (Annie Potts). But when rich-kid Blane (Andrew McCarthy) becomes interested in working-class Andie, it threatens the natural order of things; especially when Blane's snotball friend Steff (James Spader) — who'd made a run at Andie himself but was shot down — convinces Blane that dating her will mean social disaster. Yes, it's well-trod territory, but Hughes's script (directed by Howard Deutch) manages to make even the sappiest of scenes work. The underappreciated Cryer is terrific as the "sidekick" who pines for Andie as he watches her fall for Blane ("Blane?!" he explodes. "His name is Blane? That's not a name. That's a major appliance!"), and Spader, in a role that would define him for years to come, provides just the right note of effete menace. Pretty in Pink is a film made up mostly of wonderful moments — scenes of genuine familial affection between Ringwald and Stanton; Andie and Blane's first kiss, standing in the glare of a car's headlights; Cryer's wild dance in the record store, lip-synching to Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." Look for recognizable actors in tiny roles: Gina Gershon in gym class and at the prom, Andrew Dice Clay as a bouncer, and Kristy Swanson as the girl who gives Duckie the eye at the prom. Supposedly, the film's original ending had Andie ending up with Duckie — but test audiences hated it, and there was reportedly concern that it sent the message that cross-class relationships couldn't work. So Hughes took a different tack with the same story a year later, with 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful. Paramount's second DVD release of Pretty in Pink, the "Everything's Duckie Edition," features a very good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Director Howard Deutch offers a new commentary track, while other extras on board include seven featurettes — "The First Time: The Making of Pretty in Pink," "Zoids and Richies," "Prom Queen: All About Molly," "Volcanic Ensembles," "Favorite Scenes," "The Lost Dance: The Original Ending," and "Wrap Up: The Epilogue" — as well as a photo gallery. Keep-case with paperboard sleeve.
—Dawn Taylor

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