|Directed by||John Hughes|
|Produced by||John Hughes|
|Written by||John Hughes|
|Music by||Georges Delerue|
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Edited by||Peck Prior|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$33.7 million|
Curly Sue is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes, and starring Jim Belushi, Kelly Lynch, and Alisan Porter. This was the last film Hughes wrote and directed himself before his death in 2009. It was also Steve Carell’s film debut.
Bill Dancer and his young companion Curly Sue are the archetypal homeless folks with hearts of gold. Their scams are aimed not at turning a profit, but at getting enough to eat. One night, while sleeping at a shelter, Sue's tin ring, which was left to her by her late mother, is stolen and pawned by a drifter.
After moving from Detroit to Chicago, the duo cons the rich divorce lawyer Grey Ellison into believing she backed her Mercedes into Bill, in hopes of a free meal. When Grey accidentally collides with Bill for real, she insists on putting the two up for the night, even over the objections of her snotty fiancé Walker McCormick. After a confrontation with Bill exposing the truth of the con, Grey lets them stay for as long as they need when she understands the precarious position the homeless pair are in.
One night, Bill tells Grey he is not Sue's father, and he met Sue's mother one night in Florida. After Sue's mother died, Bill raised her himself, growing to love her like his own, thus when they lost their home and money, Bill could not find it in his heart to give Sue up and put her into an orphanage, so he took Sue with him. Grey, thinking Bill has been abusing Sue by using her in his cons and scams, suggests Sue stay with her when he leaves, but this only angers Bill, who says that after all the years he looked after her, if he gave up Sue now, people would make fun of her for being on welfare. He tells Grey he cares about Sue genuinely, and that his cons are his only means to provide for her. However, when it becomes apparent that Sue is completely unable to read or write (despite spelling a difficult word earlier), Grey begins to push even harder for Bill to leave Sue with her.
Eventually, Bill realizes this is where Sue belongs – in a home, cared for by someone who can give her the advantages his homeless, nomadic existence lacks. Walker turns them in and Sue gets put into welfare, while Bill is arrested, because he never actually had custody of the child. However, Grey gets Sue out, and Bill is freed. While in prison, Bill encounters the drifter who stole Sue's ring, and upon learning where he pawned it, buys it back after his release. Sue and Grey return to their apartment, and discover the ring, which Sue takes as a sign that Bill has decided the time has come for the two to part ways, leaving her with Grey. However, the ring is accompanied by a note saying he is in another room. Sue is happy to find Bill, realizing the ring was actually a sign that he is going to give up his old lifestyle so he can stay with Sue and pursue a romance with Grey.
The pair legally adopt Sue, and Grey and Bill are subsequently married. The film ends with Grey and Bill dropping Sue off on her first day of school.
- Jim Belushi as Bill Dancer
- Kelly Lynch as Grey Ellison
- Alisan Porter as Curly Sue
- John Getz as Walker McCormick
- Fred Dalton Thompson as Bernard Oxbar
- Branscombe Richmond as Albert
- Gail Boggs as Ansie Hall
- Viveka Davis as Trina
- Barbara Tarbuck as Mrs. Arnold
- John Ashton as Mr. Frank Arnold (uncredited)
- Cameron Thor as Maitre d'
- Edie McClurg as Secretary
- Steve Carell as Tesio (credited as Steven Carell)
- Burke Byrnes as Dr. Maxwell
The film debuted at No. 2 at the box office with a gross of $4,974,958 on 1,634 screens. Despite mostly negative reviews, the following weekend it increased its weekend gross by seven percent to $5.3 million from the same number of screens and remained in second place. In its third weekend it continued on the same number of screens and managed to move into first place, taking more in its third week than in its first or second. Its final gross in the U.S. and Canada was $33,691,313.
Warner Home Video released it on DVD on June 1, 2004, with commentary and an introduction by Porter on special features.
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. Leonard Maltin gave it one and a half stars out of four in his Movie Guide, and called it "A John Hughes formula movie where the formula doesn't work". Halliwell's Film Guide calls it "Gruesomely sentimental and manipulative". Nigel Andrews of the Financial Times declared, "John Hughes here graduates from the most successful comedy in film history to scripting and directing a large piece of non-biodegradable tosh." Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, complimenting "the quiet humor and the warmth of the actors." He said the movie is "not great and it's not deep, but it sure does have a heart." Curly Sue holds a 13% rating according to Rotten Tomatoes based on 15 reviews. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B+" on scale of A+ to F.
- "House Party 2 Tops At Box Office". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- Curly Sue at Box Office Mojo
- Maltin, Leonard (2008). "Curly Sue". Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2009. Signet Books. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-452-28978-9.
- Gritten, David, ed. (2007). "Curly Sue". Halliwell's Film Guide 2008. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-00-726080-5.
- Ebert, Roger (October 25, 1991). "Curly Sue".
- "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
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