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Tuff Turf

This modestly budgeted youth pic is a poor man's and partially musicalized Rebel without a Cause with a touch of The Warriors thrown in. Rebellious newcomer James Spader is the James Dean character and saucy gang moll Kim Richards is the Natalie Wood character.

With:
James Spader Kim Richards Paul Mones Robert Downey Matt Clark Claudette Nevins

This modestly budgeted youth pic is a poor man’s and partially musicalized Rebel without a Cause with a touch of The Warriors thrown in. Rebellious newcomer James Spader is the James Dean character and saucy gang moll Kim Richards is the Natalie Wood character.

They go through social and romantic hell for each other and, in the process, a large slice of suburban LA and uncomprehending parenthood embellish a story that is deceptively compelling despite, in this case, a distracting mix of comedy and music. Latter, which includes on-screen appearances by the LA band Jack Mack and Heart Attack and rocker Jim Carroll, gives the production a socking sound.

The on-screen music, however, lurches the film off balance, especially combined with unexpected and dramatically jarring numbers by the two stars (Spader materializing as a balladeer in a country club and Richards whirling into an aerodynamic disco dancer).

Robert Downey is a fresh surprise in a nice sidekick role, and Olivia Barash and Catya Sassoon (the daughter of Vidal Sassoon) lend able teen support.

Tuff Turf

Production: New World. Director Fritz Kiersch; Producer Donald Borchers; Screenplay Jette Rinck; Camera Willy Kurant; Editor Marc Grossman; Music Jonathan Elias; Art Director Craig Stearns

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1985. Running time: 112 MIN.

With: James Spader Kim Richards Paul Mones Robert Downey Matt Clark Claudette Nevins

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