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‘Cruise’ (review)

Produced by Holly Brown, Alex Garcia,
Scott LaStaiti, Laura Walker

Written and Directed by Robert D. Siegel
Starring Spencer Boldman, Emily Ratajkowski,
Lucas Salvagno, Noah Robbins, Gino Cafarelli,
Katherine Narducci, Sebastian Maniscalco

 

The 1980’s, time of big hair, electric pop and the last moments of consistent winning out of the New York Mets.

One of the truly great things about Cruise is the care that was taken in making this film a true period piece. We’ll ignore the fact the late 1980’s qualify for period piece status and revel in the artistry. The cars, clothes and hair are the meat and potatoes, but the music is dessert.

Here is just a taste of the soundtrack:

1. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
2. Alisha
3. Pretty Poison
4. Boogie Down Productions
5. Stacey Q

If that doesn’t whet your appetite for some 1980’s nostalgia I don’t know what will.

The plot is pretty standard. Rich Jewish girl from Great Neck (Emily Ratajkowski) winds up dating with an Italian boy from the other side of the tracks (Spencer Boldman) and over the course of the summer they have to decide if it is something real or just a summer fling.

Something interesting happened to me while watching this.

Emily Ratajkowski managed to exemplify my entire late teens/early 20s experience being rejected by women. When she first meets Spencer Boldman she is dressed as your stereotypical Long Island guidette with huge hair and tight pants. When you see her later on dressed in her normal day to day garb she’s the Ivy League Jewish girl from Great Neck. The costuming is perfect and had the added benefit of reminding me that neither group of women were particularly interested in dating me… at all.

We find a lot of standard themes in this film and while it might sound like I am calling it cliché it really isn’t.

Ratajkowski’s character is well read and has experienced travel and Manhattan and it gives her a broader perspective on the world. She shares some of that perspective with small time criminal Boldman and he begins to realize his narrow experience of stealing car radios and street racing might be limiting his potential. They are both strikingly beautiful people and their performances are generally good. Ratajkowski is more natural handling the Long Island accent while Boldman seemed to be concentrating on his dialogue at times. He reminded me a lot of a young Matt Dillon.

Almost none of the supporting cast is on the screen long enough to matter, save Lucas Salvagno as Boldman’s best friend who exhibits some fear at his friend falling for a girl from a rich Jewish family. The dynamic between the friends is unforced and well written. Salvagno delivers on the small role, helping to move the plot, planting seeds of doubt in his friend’s mind and creating some friction with Ratajkowski.

Writer/director Robert Siegel can write. If you haven’t seen The Wrestler or The Founder I strongly urge you to watch them. They are excellent.

Cruise is a fun film, but it isn’t an excellent film. T

he story gets very strange in the third act, taking the focus away from the couple and artificially creating some drama that was really unnecessary. Siegel takes the viewer to a cross roads with the characters and rather than moving the interpersonal story forward we find ourselves on an odd detour with more small time Long Island thugs led by Sebastian Maniscalco. Which led me to say out loud, “Is that Sebastian Maniscalco, why?” That’s never good.

Cruise is definitely worth seeing for the 1980’s nostalgia alone. Boldman and Ratajkowski bring a lot to the screen and have real chemistry. They are an enjoyable couple and I couldn’t help but root for them. The rest of the film is strong enough that I am willing to overlook the third act detour and the writing is generally excellent, which isn’t a huge surprise considering Robert Siegel’s pedigree.

Also, Stacey Q… 2 of Hearts baby!

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Cruise arrives in theaters & On Demand September 28th

 

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