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For, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021


EDITOR’S NOTE: Even a movie critic sometimes has to say enough is enough and this is one of those rare pictures that I walked out of before it was over. I would usually make it to the very end, even for real dogs, back when I was reviewing every movie that came to town in the 1980s and ’90s. But a select few, just a handful over 20 years, were so bad that in the final third or so I couldn’t take anymore, threw up my hands and took a hike. Some readers said it was a dereliction of duty on my part, but I never did it without confessing to it in the review. Anyway, here’s one such film, although Kino Lorber has enough confidence in it to release a new Blu-ray upgrade. My review was published in the Deseret News on May 6, 1987.


“The Allnighter” is a vehicle for Susanna Hoffs, lead singer with the rock group The Bangles, and was co-written, produced and directed by her mother Tamar Simon Hoffs, who also does her videos.


And it features in supporting roles two siblings of other actors — Dedee Pfeiffer (sister of Michelle), whom you may have seen in “Vamp,” and Joan Cusack (sister of John), who was a “Saturday Night Live” regular for a season and has supporting roles in “Sixteen Candles,” “Grandview, U.S.A.” and other films. (Oddly, Cusak here is so pale and dresses so oddly that she looks like an imitation of Boy George in some shots.)




   Susanna Hoffs, Joan Cusack, ‘The Allnighter’ (1987)


That’s about all there is of interest in “The Allnighter,” one of the most excruciatingly idiotic teen movies ever made.


The acting is stiff, the script is boring, the technical credits are very weak and even the songs, except for an oldie (Aretha Franklin doing “Respect”), are dull generic rock.


The story has Hoffs as the valedictorian of Pacific College in Southern California — where everybody seems to be majoring in drunkenness or surfing — and she’s trying to determine on her last night as a college student whether she loves her boyfriend or should pursue an over-the-hill former rock star (Michael Ontkean).




John Terlesky, Susanna Hoffs, ‘The Allnighter’ (1987)


“The Allnighter” is so dull and dumb, however, that members of the audience who remain awake until the end are likely to boo the proceedings.


I took the easy way out; after an hour I was gone. (Yes, this one also could not possibly get any better.)


“The Allnighter” is rated PG-13 for profanity, sex, vulgarity, drugs and some violence. (The drug scene has Hoffs pouring Cusak’s marijuana into her lasagna sauce.)