Stay Cool (2009) – Film Review

Chevvy Chase and Winona Ryder star in STAY COOL...

Chevvy Chase and Winona Ryder star in eighties-enthused Stay Cool.

An American comedy targeting a now well-worn theme, 80’s High School nostalgia. Stay Cool at least try to tackle the subject from a slightly different angle.

Henry is a former school geek still holding a candle for the former school hottie. Now a writer, he is invited back to the school to give an inspiring speech to the current graduating year. During the writing of the speech Henry has to relive his painful school days and deal with unresolved matters. All very clichéd and predictable. But this movie is written by Michael and Mark Polish, film-maker brothers who make award winning indie films and the cast is populated with interesting casting choices including familiar 80’s stars and character actors.

The whole film centres on Mark Polish (who plays the role of Henry) delivering the goods to make the movie work. Unfortunately he doesn’t. A strangely lacklustre performance from Polish, who appears to be a cross between Ben Affleck and Adrian Brody channelling 1970’s Woody Allen. Winona Ryder shines as the object of his affections but she is severely underused.

The film cannot decide to go for broad comedy or reflective knowing humour and that is the main problem. Chevvy Chase has cut and pasted his performance as the school principle from one of his ‘crazy’ 80’s comedies and stands out like a sore thumb.

Stay Cool is ultimately two different movies competing against each other, featuring a largely wasted cast and a generally wasted opportunity to make something a little different. Tellingly, a reference to the John Cusack film Say Anything makes you want to fire up the old VCR, find your VHS copy of Ferris Buellers Day Off and get some proper 80’s nostalgia


Watch this is if you liked: Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore. If you haven’t seen Never Been Kissed then watch it instead!

Amongst the 80’s cast are Dee Wallace from E.T., Jon Cryer from Pretty in Pink and former Goonie Sean Astin.

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