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Paramount Home Video presents
Pretty in Pink (SE) (1986)

"Good morning! Welcome to another day of higher education."
- Duckie (Jon Cryer)

Review By: Joel Cunningham  
Published: August 29, 2006

Stars: Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer
Other Stars: Annie Potts, Harry Dean Stanton, James Spader
Director: Howard Deutch

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (language)
Run Time: 01h:36m:38s
Release Date: August 29, 2006
UPC: 097360421644
Genre: romantic comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Pretty in Pink is one of those movies that is almost pointless to review. It has its legion of fans—kids who grew up in the 1980s and watched it dozens of times on video—and a reputation as one of the seminal teen films of the decade, and for someone watching it now, for the first time, it would probably suffer under the weight of expectation. Of course, the same can be said for all of John Hughes' films of the period—it's doubtful that my children will worship Ferris Bueller in quite the same way I do. Pretty in Pink is still charming, cute, and diverting, but it was made to be watched in 1986 by teens of less than discriminating taste, and it shows.

Molly Ringwald, who also seems pretty ridiculous outside of an '80s context, plays Andie, a mopey high school senior with an out-of-work father and a talent for designing her own (astonishingly pink) wardrobe. She makes doe eyes at sensitive hunk Blane (Andrew McCarthy), but is afraid to date him because he's a "richie." Her lifelong pal Duckie (Jon Cryer) is hopelessly, desperately, pathetically in love with her, but she ignores his advances, crushing his fragile heart at every opportunity (because his name doesn't sound like "a major appliance').

Though it isn't my favorite Hughes film (in fact, Hughes didn't even direct it, passing his script to collaborator Howard Deutch), I've always enjoyed Pretty in Pink in the past. But I haven't seen it in a few years, and once the nostalgia rush has worn off, the flick seems to lose a bit of its luster. I used to identify strongly with Duckie (as I was always, always pining after a best friend in high school, and his character could be ripped from the pages of my freshman year diary, er, "journal"), but now he seems more a pitiful moron than a kindred spirit—Andie makes a big deal of professing her friendship, but she still treats him like dirt (the less said about how the vintage me fits into this, the better). And the ending, which was totally changed after poor reaction from test audiences, feels like a copout, a betrayal of the Andie and Duckie characters. The original climax (the climax the final scenes are obviously building towards) would've been more satisfying that the out of the blue reversal that's been substituted. So many saw through the change, in fact, that Hughes and Deutch made Some Kind of Wonderful as an apology to the fans.

There's also the implication, in calling the Hughes' films generation-defining classics, that all teens fit squarely into these predetermined roles. In a way, I suppose, they do—the emotion seems universal, as everyone knows the sting of rejection. Hughes does a good job of capturing the way that, in high school, one spurned advance feels like the end of the world. But there are kids, I'm sure, that hated the saccharine sentimentality and overblown emotion of movies like Pretty in Pink, who criticized it for its obviousness, its fairytale ending. I guess it just took me a little longer to grow jaded and cynical. Not that that's a good thing.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Aside from better compression, this transfer compares to the original DVD. The print quality is very good, with few visible flaws, though it looks a bit soft overall. Blacks are solid, though shadow detail is only fair. With all that pink onscreen, you'd expect eye-popping color, but things are pretty subdued, though stable and generally pleasing.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 English remix, carried over from the original disc, is pretty standard. Dialogue is clear and anchored in the center channel, with the front mains handling most everything else. There's nice separation and directionality across the front soundstage, adding some flair to the score and minimal sound effects, and the pop-heavy soundtrack is spreads out nicely here as well.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Documentaries
14 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Howard Deutch
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo gallery
Extras Review: Pretty in Pink has endured long enough that it can rightly be called a generational classic, and it gets its due on this special edition DVD re-issue, which replaces the bare bones release from a few years back.

There's a lot to go through, but if you're like me, the first thing you'll do is watch The Lost Dance: The Original Ending (12m:27s), which explores the legendary (well, relatively) Duckie-gets-the-gal ending, which, it seems, just didn't work (we don't actually get to see it, though there is brief footage of the filming). I always thought the movie seemed like it was heading toward this intended outcome, but this featurette makes a good case for the change via interviews with the cast and director.

Otherwise, there are a lot of other newly created pieces comparable to what's on the Ferris Bueller special edition. The First Time (12m:52s) is a standard retrospective/making-of with then-and-now interviews with director Howard Deutch, producer Lauren Schuler Donner, and actors Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, and Andrew McCarthy, among others. Writer John Hughes appears only in vintage clips.

Zoids and Richies (18m:25s) focuses on the casting of the major roles and packs in a lot of good trivia from the actors and director. Prom Queen: All About Molly (12m:41s) focuses on Ringwald's place as John Hughes' mid-80s muse, while Volcanic Ensembles (9m:07s) gives some credit to the great supporting cast, visible in new interviews and vintage videos.

Cast members remember their own prom experiences (those old enough to have had them) in Prom Stories (3m:10s), and discuss their eight favorite scenes in a series of mini-featurettes that runs a total of just over 20 minutes. There's also a photo gallery and, wrapping things up, a short Epilogue (4m:59s) in which the cast offers some final thoughts (Ringwald admits she thought the movie would flop) and talks sequel.

Deutch has more to say in a genial feature commentary that offers a nice look back at the director's first major Hollywood gig. All in all, this is a pretty extensive collection of bonuses for a re-issue, and well worth the double-dip for the children of the '80s.

Extras Grade: A-


Final Comments

All that really must be said about Pretty in Pink is that it is a John Hughes teen movie from the 1980s (and all that that implies). Viewed objectively, it's not the best example of great moviemaking—kids today might scoff at the slow pace and corny dialogue. But it has heart and sincerity, qualities present in few teen movies these days, and it's pinker than ever on this new special edition re-issue.


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