Directed By: Joan Micklin Silver
Written By: Frank Mugavero, Mark Goddard, Melissa Goddard
Produced By: Gerald T. Olson, Laurie Perlman
Cast: Griffin Dunne, Dan Futterman, Jenny Lewis, Patricia Kalember, Ben Savage, David Strathairn
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 96 minutes
Review Date: December 3, 2010
If Ferris Bueller had been a girl and four years younger, he would have starred in Big Girls Don’t Cry…They Get Even. Along with other stylistic quirks, the characters talking to the camera is oddly reminiscent of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Unlike that teen classic, this film is a bit hokey, suffering from stereotypical characters and a script with little depth, but it’s still surprisingly enjoyable.
The ostensible lead in this sprawling ensemble is Laura (Hillary Wolf), a child of divorced parents with a plethora of stepsiblings and half-siblings. Naturally, Laura finds herself unable to relate to anyone in her family, but then, who can as a teenager? Although she can’t related to her family, Laura is easy for an audience member to relate to, as we’ve all been where she is at some time. Like Andie Walsh of another John Hughes film, Pretty in Pink, feeling invisible in her family, Laura feels much the same way in hers.
Laura decides to run away from home right before the family takes a trip to Hawaii — they claim the trip is for Laura’s birthday, but it’s easy to see they simply planned the trip without realizing it was her birthday (hello again, Pretty in Pink). So Laura runs away and every stepmom, stepdad, stepbrother, half-brother, half-sister, stepsister, mom, and dad works together to find her.
Again, the script is totally predictable, yet the film still made me laugh and kept me engaged. I attribute it to the plethora of recognizable ’90s actors in the film: Griffin Dunne (hello, Mr. Bixler from My Girl), Patricia Kalember (Susannah of thirtysomething), Ben Savage (Cory Matthews — you know, the Boy Meets World kid), and Wolf herself (she put up with Kevin McCallister’s antics as his sister, Megan, in Home Alone). The film even cast the phenomenal dramatic actor David Strathairn as Laura’s stepdad.
Watching Big Girls Don’t Cry…They Get Even made me crave the days of tying an Adidas jacket around my waist and under an open flannel shirt with a white tee underneath. The film strives to entertain while packing some ’90s nostalgia into the mix.
Sadly, the film did not perform at all, and theaters pulled it after four weeks. Wolf went on to pursue a career in Judo. Clearly, you can push a big girl down, but she’ll still land on her feet.
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.