‘The Pick-up Artist’ (1987) Review

Jack Jericho is a teacher who spends his free time trying to pick up women with various pickup lines. Randy is a museum tour guide trying to get her father out of a mobster’s debt. After Randy beats Jack at his own game, he finds himself smitten with her and inevitably caught up in her complicated life.

I’ve never seen The Pick-up Artist before, but I kept coming across it on some streaming service. Molly Ringwald is quintessential 1980s, and Robert Downey Jr., back when he still had that baby face and a gap between his teeth, seemed like the pairing I would enjoy watching in a romantic comedy. Sadly, I didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between their characters. Jack is a smooth-talking womanizer, but he’s also witty and smart, determined to help Randy and her father.

Randy… I’m not sure what Randy is. She doesn’t seem to believe in love or at least committed relationships, which is fine. But she also insists on fixing her dad’s problems without help, yet she has no idea how. So maybe this is just a movie about how a helpless, stubborn woman accepts Jack’s affections after he saves the day. It is a rom-com in the 80s, though, so that may be par for the course.

Anyway, there were bits and pieces of this movie I enjoyed. Robert Downey Jr. is a cutie. And The Pick-up Artist has Harvey Keitel, Dennis Hopper, Danny Aiello, and Bob Gunton! There are also blink-and-you-miss-them scenes with Christine Baranski, Vanessa Williams, and Lorraine Bracco—an extraordinary cast with a mediocre script and story. Despite the whole mob debt angle, it didn’t feel like much was going on. I wish I had more to say about The Pick-up Artist, but it was wholly forgettable. The only thing I can really rave about is the cast and Robert Downey Jr.’s tooth gap (RIP). If you’re looking for a cute 1980s rom-com, this ain’t it.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."