Reach the Rock


Former teen-schlock juggernaut John Hughes returns to his old stomping grounds with this script, which follows one night in the life of college-aged ne’er-do-well Robin (Alessandro Nivola). He gets caught vandalizing a storefront in his sleepy Illinois burg, then repeatedly sneaks out of his holding cell and generally makes the wee hours miserable for the no-nonsense sheriff. Meanwhile, Robin’s rich-bitch ex-girlfriend wants a heart-to-heart with her old beau before she makes off for the big city. Reach the Rock is as hokey and facile as any of the high school comedies Hughes cranked out in the ’80s, but it’s likable enough in its own shuffling way, since Hughes’s empathetic ear for late-adolescent angst remains acute. Especially endearing, odd as it seems, is the hollowness of Robin’s rebellion: he has nothing to revolt against but his own shiftless tendencies. Nivola is droll, puckish despite his (amply displayed) muscles, and immensely appealing, but the real star of the movie is the jazzy prog-rock soundtrack, featuring Chicago indie darlings Tortoise and The Sea and Cake.

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