- Movie Rating -

Secret Admirer (1985)

| June 14, 1985

Methinks, I sense too many hands in the pot here.  I don’t know anything about the background of Secret Admirer but I sense that it started out as a sweet little romance about a shy teenager building up the courage to talk to the person that they have feelings for, and then some studio executives blew in and decided to turn a simple comedy into a very bad and overly violent TV sitcom.  I have a nose for these things.

The movie is a comedy of errors involving a series of anonymous love letters that end up in the wrong hands at the wrong time resulting in one teenage romance, the destruction of another teenage romance and the near-collapse of two marriages.  The hero is a high school student named Mark Ryan (C. Thomas Howell) who is desperately in love with the class slut named Deborah Anne Fimple (Kelly Preston) but hardly notices the affections of his good friend Toni (Lori Laughlin) until the movie is almost over.

One day, Michael gets a love letter without a signature and his friends convince him that it’s from Deborah.  He writes a letter back and gives it to Toni to deliver, but she does some editing and Deborah goes, like, totally out of her mind.

Okay, so there you have the formula for a very sweet comedy of errors.  Shakespeare could have written this on the back of a cocktail napkin – provided they had napkins in his day.  And I wish old Willie Shakes had written this screenplay because it gets so confused so cartoonish and so stupid that I was groaning as it limped to its confused ending.  In between we get car crashes, beer blasts, fellatio, screaming, shouting, fist fights and petty theft.  I was shocked when the whole thing did not end up in a courtroom.

Those elements are hammered onto the plot because the letters, you see, end up in an Idiot Plot scenario wherein they are left in the wrong place at the wrong time and are read by the wrong people who get the wrong idea of where they came from.  The letters immediately fall into the hands of Deborah’s parents and Mark’s parents who immediately make the connection that Mrs. Fimple and Mr. Ryan are making the beast with two backs – to quote Shakespeare – and the whole thing blows up into a violent encounter at a dinner party that probably sounded better during the story conference then what ended up on the screen.

While the parent’s misunderstanding explode, Mark dates Deborah only to realize – horror of horrors – the she is little more than a shallow narcissist.  Will he realize way too late that Toni is the author?  Will he realize way too late that she is the perfect girl for him?  Will he have to nearly drown before reaching her to tell her that he loves her?  Are the characters in this movie as dumb as a bag of rocks?  Was I groaning during the last hour of this movie?  Was I fighting the urge to turn Secret Admirer into the first movie that I walked out on?  Am I proud of the fact that this is the first movie review that I have ever started with the work ‘Methinks’?  Sure.  But you probably already guessed that.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy