Plot: Doug Simpson (Tony Danza) runs an oldies radio station and has a loving family, including his teenage daughter, Katie (Ami Dolenz). He couldn’t be prouder of her, as she does well in school and has never given him any trouble, even her boyfriend is pretty much part of the family. But when she turns fifteen, Katie decides she wants to change things up a bit and turns to Doug’s girlfriend Janet (Katherine Hicks) for help. A trip to the dentist to have her braces removed, a salon visit to spruce up her hair, and a new wardrobe work wonders for Katie, who undergoes all these changes while Doug is gone at a radio convention. He is mortified upon his return, especially when he learns there is a long line of new suitors to court Katie, who dumped her old boyfriend, since she wanted more passion. Now Doug is spiraling into chaos as Katie grows up in front of his eyes, but can he hold things together, even with the help of a leading parenting expert at his disposal?
Entertainment Value: This teen comedy came right at the close of the 80s, but remains steeped in vibes from that decades and while She’s Out of Control is no classic, it is a brisk, harmless picture. I have more fun with this one than most seem to, perhaps because I have an appreciation for Tony Danza and he carries this movie, with his dialed up performance. The narrative is one we’ve seen countless times, a protective father unable to cope with his daughter growing up, so there’s new ground broken here, but the outlandish tone offers a fun approach. The tone is light and silly, so its not like the movie pretends to be some deep treatise or what not, so I’m not sure why some critics are overly harsh toward She’s Out of Control, while allowing other, similar comedies to slide past. So no, there’s nothing subtle about this one and it mines well worn tropes, but I think it offers some laughs and if you like the 80s nostalgia, the movie has plenty of that on showcase as well. The clothes, the lingo, and of course, Tony Danza hamming it up, there’s some solid fun here. So if you like wacky, brisk teen comedies, this one should provide some passable entertainment.
As this movie centers on a father who is going bananas over his teen daughter’s newfound love life, Tony Danza is a fun choice to be the lead, since he has more than a little experience as the concerned dad. He is also up to make himself look silly if it earns a laugh, which helps since She’s Out of Control is so over the top and a more timid actor might have lost some of the humor. I doubt anyone will praise his performance as award level work, but Danza delivers what the material asks for and more, always willing to go for broke here. I think his wild performance synchs up well with the rest of the movie, which shares the ridiculous tone of his effort, a light and humorous vibe that has no pretense about being more. Ami Dolenz is fun here as well, as the newly hot teen girl on the prowl, while Wallace Shawn has a memorable role as an aggressive, easy to dislike parenting expert. The cast also includes Katherine Hicks, Todd Bridges, Matthew Perry, and Dick O’Neill.
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