Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1984)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, Shannen Doherty
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

As Helen Hunt seems to be in a new movie every week these days, it’s nice to go back to a gentler time when she was less visible and made a living by appearing in films like ’Girls Just Want to Have Fun.’ This spunky, feel-good movie is a staple of the ’Guilty Pleasures’ list and epitomizes 80’s fashion and style, and it features many future stars. Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Janey, as young girl who has just moved to Chicago. She’s a military brat with a strict father, but all she thinks about are her dreams of becoming a dancer. Janey soon becomes friends with the outrageous Lynne (Helen Hunt, being as outrageous as she can be), who convinces Janey to audition for the local teen dance show ’Dance TV’ (or ’DTV’ to the hipsters). Janeys then meets Jeff (Lee Montgomery), a young man who only dreams of dancing, but doesn’t want to shame his blue-collar father. Soon, Janey and Jeff are dancing up a storm to try and get on the show and defeat the evil and conniving Natalie, who is trying to buy her way onto the show.

’Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ is just as hokey and predictable as it sounds, but the film is very sweet and benign and exists solely for entertainment value. Sarah Jessica Parker is light-years away from her ’Sex and the City’ character as Janey and she does a good job of holding the film together. Also, looks for appearances by Shannen Doherty and Jonathan Silverman. ’Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ isn’t art by any means, but it’s a fun movie that will transport you straight back to the eighties. And besides all of the now-famous actors in the film, look how far then-producer/now-director Chuck Russell (’The Mask’, ’A Nightmare on Elm Street 3’) has come.

’Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ is yet another example of how Anchor Bay can take an older, somewhat obscure film and make it look great. The film is presented in a anamorphic widescreen transfer, which has been letterboxed at 1.85:1. The full-frame version of the film is also accessable on the DVD. The image is very crisp and clear, showing no defects from the source print or overt noise. There is some sight grain on the image and some scenes are slightly darker than others, but the colors (yes, those eighties’ neon colors) look very good.

The audio on the DVD is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that yields mixed results. The dialogue is audible and clear, with no hissing on the track. There is a nice soundfield with the surround sound. But, some of the songs (and there is a lot of music in this dance movie) sound a bit tinny and lack the needed amount of bass. Of course, this may have more to do with the way this wimpy 80’s music was recorded than the transfer itself. The only extra on the DVD is the theatrical trailer for the film, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1. The trailer identifies the film as ’Girls Just Want to Have Fun: The Movie’, just in case some confused audience member wandered into the theatre expecting to see the two-hour version of the Cyndi Lauper video. ’Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ and you might just want to check out this warmly nostalgic DVD.