The Allnighter Movie Review

The Allnighter

Who says you can't do it all in one night?


Susanna Hoffs, Dedee Pfeiffer, Joan Cusack, John Terlesky

James Shanta, Michael Ontkean, Pam Grier, Phil Brock, Janelle Brady, Kaaren Lee, Meshach Taylor, Will Seltzer, Denise Dumont, Mary Petrie, Kelly Lynn Pushkin Update Cast

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The senior Ms. Hoffs, coincidentally, was the first woman to write and direct a major studio picture.

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For some of us, college is a grand experience. For others, it's a place that falls somewhere between Dante's Inferno, the Roman Circus and a Weathermen meeting. I fell into the latter category of fearful people.

My one month of college was a brutal experience in rejection, sleepless nights, Communist professors and weight gain. I was so shattered by my time there that I attempted suicide. I had to get out, and get out I did...

After a month of college and a half-year of unemployment, I took a job at Wal-Mart. I eventually started writing reviews for this website as well. I was able to move on. "The Allnighter" deals with the same themes of college and the real world as well, but in a far more jovial and light-hearted vein.

Our tale is one of 3 beautiful young women, all of whom are graduating college. Molly (Hoffs) is a sweet girl who, despite her knock-'em-dead looks, has yet to have a meaningful relationship (although she's in an on-again-off-again one with surfer boy C.J (Terlesky). Val (Pfeiffer) is a blonde with a nouveau riche big future as the fiancee of a young corporate go-getter. Gina (Cusack) is the film-student whiz kid, camera perpetually in hand, ready to roll at a moment's notice. Together with C.J's buddy Killer (Shanta), the quintet form a group of people who knew how to enjoy youth. Unfortunately, the adult world is coming up close. How to face it? BINGO! Pull an allnighter!

First, the night is prepared for by a last day of youthful fun. Surfing for the guys, girl talk and lasagna with an "extra-special ingredient" (if you catch my drift) for the ladies, and a small party for both. While Gina goofs around with the camera, and Val prepares for a night at a hotel with her beau, Gina and C.J are talking, goofing around... doing the things that these types of friends do when they're in the off-again stage.

The plan is about to be changed, though. Paying a visit to the girls' house is the former tenant, a dashing rocker named Mickey (Ontkean). In the 70s, he was guitarist for a group called The Rhinos, who had a big hit with a song called "Shangri-La". That's one of Molly's favorite songs, and when she puts on the record to do her dance to it, C.J senses he's being eased out of the picture. After all, how can a lowly surfer dude compete with a rock star, albeit a former one?

No time to worry about that now, because we've got a BIG party coming up. It's a fiesta for all the graduates. A true example of wine, women and song, the booze flows free while those crazy kids dance to the sounds of a party band. Depressed over his state, C.J takes a big, tropical drink and one of his comely classmates to soothe his weary soul. When Molly shows up, the two have a heart-to-broken-heart about their situation. Splitting up, Molly decides to take her search for a great romance to a man who could treat her right...Yep, that's Mickey I'm talking about.

After a sexy dance in front of a mirror to the sounds of the great Aretha Franklin's hit "Respect", Molly goes to the hotel where Mickey's staying. The same hotel is also housing Val and her intended. He wants her to be sexy and do anything she wants, but his constant business yakking and suffocating, bordering-on-abusive manner sort of inhibit such a thing.

Anyway, once Molly makes it to the hotel, she meets Mickey and hopes for a sure thing. She doesn't get it, though, since the Mick has to attend to his ex-wife, who, coincidentally, works at the college our 3 young women are graduating from. In the midst of all this, a hotel detective named Philip (Taylor) has a hunch that the fancy hotel is being used as a no-tell motel for hookers and their johns.

After a brief and confusing series of scenes that finds Val going back to the house to meet Gina and the 2 of them getting a message from a stranded and lonely Molly, a rescue is on. This ends up getting Gina and Val mixed up with real working girls, and Molly trying to get bail money for them. The police officer in charge of the evening's ladies, a Sgt. McLeish (Grier), won't believe Val and Gina's protestations of innocence.

Thanks to college IDs, cash from Val's hocked engagement ring, and some assistance from C.J, with whom Molly has reunited, the girls are together again. Speaking of C.J, while the ladies were having their time, he and his pal Killer were searching for waves. After a near-death experience, Killer decides to skip town without getting his diploma. Encouraging C.J to continue, the duo split. As one team ends, another begins again, and Molly and C.J consummate their relationship.

Okay, so the allnighter went into the day. At least a final kick of youth occurred before the pomp and circumstance, and no matter what happens, Gina has it all on videotape.

Author: John Edward KilduffUpdate This Review


Ironically enough, I purchased this movie in my final days as a collegiate. It was a Super Buy DVD at $4.99, and I'm glad I picked it up. I don't have good memories of college, so by watching movies like this, I can vicariously live out good times I never was fortunate enough to experience.

Anyway, the movie is fluffy, but a good kind of fluffy. If anything, it proves that college can be as wacky for women in film as it is for guys. Also, Susanna Hoffs... Babe with a capital "B". She definitely has what it takes to be a good actress, and it's a shame we haven't seen her in more acting roles. Joan Cusack plays the wisecracking gal-pal in her great-as-always manner, and Dedee Pfeiffer is as beautiful and talented as her sister Michelle.

If college was bad for you, whip out this movie and just imagine yourself in there. I imagine myself as a C.J type. I wouldn't be a good surfer, but I'd get the chance to smooch the lovely Ms. Hoffs.

Solid 9...

The atmosphere, the ladies and the relatively innocent portrayal of college, which has gotten progressively more nihilistic in both the modern day's movies and its' real life.
None...Now, let's go to Shangri-La!

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Tamar Simon Hoffs
Writer: Tamar Simon Hoffs, M.L. Kessler
Producers: James L. Stewart, Margot Kessler, Nancy Israel
Locations Manager:

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Release Date: 01 May 1987
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Studio: Universal Pictures
Production: Aurora Productions LLC, Universal Pictures
Genre: Romantic Comedy

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The Movie Trailer
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1987 Universal Pictures
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