MovieChat Forums > Risky Business (1983) Discussion > Entertaining teen comedy with Cruise and...

Entertaining teen comedy with Cruise and De Mornay, but disturbingly dishonest


As far as all-around entertainment goes, this is an easy 7/10, but I have to lower my grade due to the glorification of prostitution. Yes, I realize it’s a teen comedy and you have to roll with it to enjoy it, which I did and did.

BUT the portrayal of prostitution & prostitutes is strictly fantasyland and I found it disingenuous and irresponsible. Would all these guys seriously be so hot for these women who have sex with several strangers every work day? Am I the only one who finds this gross? Wouldn’t at least some of them be concerned about STDs? Wouldn’t the loose lifestyle of prostitution negatively affect the women, psychologically and spiritually? Wouldn’t there be signs of “wear and tear”?

Of course none of these types of realities are addressed.

reply

I agree with you 100%!

reply

Thanks. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who noticed this problem.

reply

Sure thing, cheers, man!!

reply

The film is seen through the eyes of a horny (and naive) teenage male and takes place 2-3 years before the AIDS/HIV epidemic is first made public.

When watching (old) movies, it pays to adapt your mindset to the period either when the film was produced or when/where it takes place.

reply

AIDS was just beginning to make an impact in America in 1982 when the film was shot. See the graph here https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5021a2.htm

But my post didn't say anything about AIDS, which was more a problem with homosexuals in the 80s, not so much heteros. All I said was that the depiction of prostitutes and prostitution was serious fantasyland. Would all these guys -- not just teens, but older males too -- seriously be so hot for these women who have sex with several strangers every work day? Am I the only one who finds this gross? Wouldn’t at least SOME of these males be concerned about STDs (not necessarily AIDS)? Wouldn’t the loose lifestyle of prostitution negatively affect the women, psychologically and spiritually? Wouldn’t there be signs of “wear and tear”?

Yet none of these realities are addressed.

Lastly, my opening statement noted that it's an 80's teen dramedy where I emphasized that you have to roll with it to enjoy it, which I did and did.

But I personally can't block out the false and irresponsible depiction of prostitution. It makes it look like a fun lifestyle with no chance of negative repercussions for the prostitute or client. Why Sure!

reply

You're back-peddling and, yes, you did mention AIDS indirectly by mentioning "STDs".

Btw, AIDS was around way before the '80s, it just wasn't well-publicised until the mid to late '80s. As for your claim about it being more of a homosexual problem, during that time, that's very ignorant as it wasn't - it was a problem for everyone but, initially, it was incorrectly concluded to be a homosexual epidemic.

But no mater - it's obvious you're seeking validation...


reply

You're making an argument where there is none, my friend.

What's the significance of my supposedly "back-peddling"? I simply felt I should close by pointing out the opening statement of my original post, which was that I ENJOYED THE MOVIE for what it was (speaking as someone who favors 80's coming-of-age dramas/comedies, like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High").

Yes, by "STDs" I meant ANY sexually transmitted disease, although AIDS wasn't foremost on my mind.

AIDS was around way before the '80s, it just wasn't well-publicised until the mid to late '80s.


Yes, the very link I supplied offered that information. But the CONTEXT of our dialogue was the growing AIDS epidemic in America in the 80s.

RE: "As for your claim about it being more of a homosexual problem, during that time, that's very ignorant as it wasn't - it was a problem for everyone"

True, it was a danger for anyone who had multiple sex partners. I was obviously speaking in generalities and, at the time in the 80s, it was spread mostly amongst male homosexuals for obvious reasons, which is why it was called "the gay plague." You're welcome to deny the documented facts and rewrite history if you want.

For the record, I had a friend who died of AIDS and visited him in hospice a couple of times. He said he (supposedly) acquired the disease via his girlfriend who was shooting up or something. I say "supposedly" because -- who knows? -- he might've been hiding the truth.

Lastly, what validation do I need for my legitimate criticism of the movie's fantasy depiction of prostitution? Fact: Prostitution has negative repercussions, both for the prostitute and, less so, the client, especially the longer they participate in that lifestyle. Disagree all you want.

reply

Hey, it was the 80's man.
Nobody straight caught AIDS and very few used condoms because STD's were largely caught by sailors in Singapore.
Don't you know this ;-)

reply

I wouldn’t call it a glorification of prostitution. If anything, this is an unsubtle cautionary tale.

The first time he hires a prostitute, he loses $75. The second time, she steals the egg. Then he is followed by a pimp with a gun, who eventually steals his furniture and he loses all of his money to get it back. And let’s not forget about the situation with the car.

This was a very risky business, hence the title of the film. Towards the end, it was not worth it since he put himself in so much risk and had little to show for it.

As for the women. His girlfriend said she left the house because her stepfather was molesting her. It was made clear that she had psychological issues. Most of them were pretty young too, so they wouldn’t look so worn.

As for STD’s. They are teenagers! At that age people don’t really think about consequences. There are actual psychological studies done on this. If any of them were concerned, they would simply not show up. But, in general, teenagers are very horny and would take a chance like this.

reply

If I remember correctly, there were adult male clients as well.

Still, I appreciate your explanations; good job.

reply