Grandview U.S.A.

Though it derives some mileage out of its impressively star-laden cast, Grandview U.S.A. has been saddled with an all-too-slight narrative that effectively (and pervasively) prevents the viewer from connecting to the various characters and their respective endeavors. The movie, for the most part, details the coming-of-age exploits of an affable teenager named Tim Pearson (C. Thomas Howell), with Tim’s assured post-high school track thrown into question after he meets and falls for an older woman (Jamie Lee Curtis’ Michelle Cody). Filmmaker Randal Kleiser has infused Grandview U.S.A. with a subdued feel that admittedly does reflect the low-key bent of Ken Hixon’s screenplay, with the authentic atmosphere and charismatic performances initially compensating for the decidedly thin storyline. The uneventfulness of Hixon’s script does, however, become more and more oppressive as time progresses, and there inevitably reaches a point wherein the viewer begins to crave a more substantive vibe. (There is, for example, an incredibly entertaining sequence in which Patrick Swayze’s scene-stealing character freaks out after catching his wife with another man, but such moments prove to be increasingly few and far between.) It is, as a result, difficult to work up much interest in or enthusiasm for the love triangle that dominates the movie’s third act, which ultimately cements Grandview U.S.A.‘s place as a forgettable bit of ’80s nostalgia.

** out of ****

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