- Movie Rating -

Times Square (1980)

| October 17, 1980

You know, it’s funny.  I just wrote a review of The Idolmaker and gave it credit for rising above its formulaic failings by presenting a character that I found intriguing.  And now here comes Time Square, a movie that does exactly the same thing but doesn’t work at all.  This is one of those movies that takes teenage girls and puts them in a hostile environment but establishes that environment in a way that nothing bad will ever happen to them.

The story involves a pair of teenage runaways and the scuzzy world of Times Square, but it’s not exactly a realistic portrait of lost souls.  This is more or less just a fabricated fantasy where you’re waiting for the reality to come crashing in.  That’s too bad because the environment would seen to suggest otherwise.  We’re in the midst of NYC’s punk rock scene with the sounds, the clothes and the attitudes but it all feels like window-dressing, like the movie knows the territory but is too shy to explore it.

The runaways – who bill themselves as The Sleaze Sisters – are so naïve and phony that you’re sure they’ll get mugged around the next corner.  One is Nicky Marotta (Robin Johnson), a tough-talking, husky-voiced kid who seems to have modeled her new look on the punk scene, right up to the ghetto blaster that she’s always sporting.  The other is Pamela (Trini Alvarado) the rich daughter of the city’s commissioner.

They meet in a psychiatric hospital but runaway and hide in an abandoned warehouse, meanwhile Pamela’s father institutes a city-wide manhunt to find his daughter.  Desperate for help, they contact a local D.J. named Johnny LaGuardia (Tim Curry) who, for no real reason, seems to have motivations that are hidden until the movie is almost over.

The bonding of the two girls is not convincing.  The manhunt for the girls is not convincing.  The portrait of Times Square is not convincing.  And the positive ending is definitely not convincing.  This is a hyped-up fantasy, one of those why-can’t-the-adults-just-leave-us-alone kind of youth pictures that are written with a very shy motivation.  They don’t want anything bad to happen to these girls (and in real-life it definitely would) and the result is kind of unbearable.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1980) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized