License to Drive
Reviewed by Jenny LeComte
Rating: 10 Beans
ood afternoon and welcome to Driverís Ed. Today weíre going to learn all about driving the American way. I picked up this highly instructional video called ďLicense To DriveĒ which - if followed correctly - will ensure you donít end up in either the lock-up or a Careflight rescue helicopter. So are we ready? Fasten your seatbelts, folks. Itís going to be a bumpy ride.
Our instructional video begins with two 16-year-old boys (both, spookily enough, played by actors called Corey) raving on about how cool itís going to be when they get their licenses. Theyíll be able to go cruisiní on a Friday night, picking up chicks and indulging their insatiable passion for greasy takeaway food served by rollerskating waitresses. Les (Corey Haim) can hardly eat his peas for excitement because his best mate Dean (Corey Feldman) is going for his license the following day.
Hang on. Wait just one cotton pickiní minute here. These kids are 16!! How can Americans let their children drive so young? No wonder thereís so many five-car pile-ups on the freeways. Here in Australia, you canít get your licence until youíre at least 18. Then youíve got to drive around with provisional or P-plates on your car for a whole year. That way, the other motorists know to give you a wide berth and - in Sydney where I live - to run you off the road completely.
The thought of 16-year-olds trying to drive over the Harbour Bridge in peak hour traffic scares the bejesus out of me. Particularly if youíre talking
about a 16-year-old like Dean, who is especially immature. Not only does he fall asleep during the crash simulation videos in his driverís ed class at school, but heís somehow gotten it into his head that you can pass your written driving test without knowing any road rules.
The poor guy canít even dress himself properly. He goes to a school disco in parachute pants, for goodness sakes. Deanís twin sister, played by Kimberly Hope, seems like sheís got a more mature attitude to driving, but sheís got diabolical taste in boyfriends.
Her paramour is a Che Guevara lookalike whose idea of a good time is to take her to a radical student demonstration where they get sprayed with tear gas and beaten by cops with batons. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The day of the driving test arrives and you guessed it - Deanís sister passes with flying colours and he flunks miserably. So what does he do? Goes home and lies about it so he can still go out cruisiní with Les and the rest of his drop-kick mates.
Unfortunately, just before heís about to burn the clutch out of Grand-dadís prized DeSoto, Dean is confronted by his Mum (Carol Kane). While cleaning Deanís room, Mum found the test results and
wonders what the hell heís doing with the keys to Grand-dadís prized DeSoto.
So Dean is grounded and has to stay home on Friday night which - when youíre an American teenager - is about the worst thing which can possibly happen to you. While miserably contemplating his fate, Dean receives a phone call from Mercedes (yes, itís
Boogie Nights rollergirl babe Heather Graham with a really bad haircut).
Sheís the foxiest girl in school and the fact that she is named after a car sets the scene for some
really corny jokes later on. Now Dean has been hoping and praying that Mercedes will notice him. She had a rather acrimonious fight with her sportscar-driving boyfriend Pablo (Michael A. Nickles) at the same school disco where Dean disgraced himself by wearing parachute pants. Just to piss Pablo off, Mercedes flirted with Dean and heís been carrying a torch for her ever since.
Well, people, you can guess what happens next. Dean accepts a date with Mercedes and sneaks down to the garage, clutching the keys to Grand-dadís prized DeSoto. Under cover of darkness, he rolls the car into the street, starts her up and drives over to where Mercedes lives. Why is it that all pretty
sorority/prom queen/cheerleader type girls in these cheesy movies live in huge, ďGone With The WindĒ style mansions and have pink bedrooms filled with stuffed animals?
Theyíve also got very permissive parents who donít raise an eyebrow when their daughters drive off into the night with callow 16-year-olds who canít tell park from reverse. Dean drives Mercedes to the hottest party in town and the first person they
see is Pablo, who is with another girl. Mercedes tries to throw herself at him, then drowns her sorrows with a bottle of champagne.
By the time Dean finds Mercedes, sheís two sheets to the wind. He takes her to a romantic lookout where Mercedes proceeds to dance on the car bonnet, denting it with her spike heels. Then she passes
out in the back seat. What now?
Well, seeing as heís got the car and all, Dean zooms over to see Les and his drop-kick mates. The boys pile into the car, keen to carry out their original plan of picking up chicks and gorging greasy burgers. Mercedes takes up too much room in the back seat, so Dean stuffs her in the trunk.
Then the adventures really begin. Poor old Grand-dadís DeSoto is driven through the student
demonstration where Deanís twin sister is busily getting arrested and somebody tries to firebomb it. Then Dean leaves the car unattended for a few minutes and a drunk hijacks it. The drunk crashes the car into a few barriers, then saunters off into the night to get some more booze. Mercedes, by the way, is passed out in the trunk this whole
By the time Dean finally gets Grand-dadís DeSoto home at daybreak, Mercedes has woken up. She has no trace of a hangover, but the car looks like itís been through six world wars. Deanís Dad (Richard Masur) is pretty pissed off and is just about to
thoroughly irrigate Deanís colon when Mum goes into labour. She needs to get to the hospital real quick and Deanís Dad is too distracted to drive and...god, Iím cringing when I write this.
Dean drives his Mum to hospital. In Grand-dadís DeSoto. In reverse. I couldnít believe my eyes. And when Dad hugs Dean and says ďthanks sonĒ in
a choked voice, I made sure I had a bucket handy. Just when I thought this film couldnít get any more corny, Grand-dad shows up. Heís delighted Dean wrote off his DeSoto. He hated the old bomb and only wanted the insurance money, anyway.
Heís so delighted that he offers to buy Dean a Porsche. Dean says: ďNo, thanks, Iíve already
got a Mercedes.Ē Groan. Speak of the devil and she appears, in a red convertible sportscar. She hands the wheel over to Dean and they drive off into the sunset. Double groan.
This was such a godawful movie. A cinematic vacuum. Utter codswallop. Complete tripe. The kind of film which makes me want to look up Rogetís Thesaurus
and write down all the similes for ďbadĒ.
Rollergirl, how could you?
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