It was a singularly three-dimensional teen romance after a decade of broad gags and breakfast-club stereotypes in John Hughesland. Cameron Crowe, making his directorial debut, retained the antic affection for youthful eccentricities of his Fast Times at Ridgemont High screenplay and, abetted by a breakout performance by Cusack, laid an undertow of desperation and self-doubt in the hearts of all his main characters.
Apart from some dubious information about the way Internal Revenue Service officials operate, and some overly neat and symmetrical business with a fountain pen, Crowe's script is as fresh and insightful as his direction. Much of the credit for the film's overall assurance is undoubtedly also due to the producer, Polly Platt, and to the sensitivity of Cusack, Skye, and Mahoney.
Not that I didn't enjoy the hell out of this, but, y'know, Cameron Crowe has a way of designing films in which characters' moments of moral and emotional turmoil, which are always brilliantly acted and usually effectively (if plainly) staged, always get worked out. They get reigned in just a little too easily.
92 of 3 reviews