Girls Just Want to Have Fun (film)

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Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Girls just want to have fun.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan Metter
Produced byChuck Russell
Written byAmy Spies
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byLorenzo DeStefano
David Rawlins
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • April 12, 1985 (1985-04-12)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
BudgetLess than $5 million[1]
Box office$6.3 million[2]

Girls Just Want to Have Fun is a 1985 American romantic comedy dance film directed by Alan Metter and distributed by New World Pictures. It was written by Amy Spies and stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Lee Montgomery, Morgan Woodward, Jonathan Silverman, Shannen Doherty, and Helen Hunt.[3] Its story follows Janey, a new girl in town who meets Lynne, both share a passion for dancing (Dance TV). Together the two enter a competition to be a new Dance TV regular couple, however Janey's father doesn't approve.

The film was produced by Chuck Russell and was released on April 12, 1985. It grossed $1.7 million in its opening weekend and $6.3 million worldwide, against a budget of $5 million.[4] It received generally negative reviews and has a 38% approval rating based on 13 votes on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] Despite its negative reviews, the film was regularly aired on Comedy Central, Lifetime, USA Network, Lifetime Movie Network and ABC Family for several years and has become a cult film.[6]


Janey Glenn is an army brat whose father Robert has retired from the Army and relocated to Chicago, the home of her favorite dance show Dance TV. At her Catholic girls school, she quickly makes a new friend in Lynne Stone due to their shared love of Dance TV. Although Robert nixes the idea of her traveling to downtown Chicago to try out as a dancer for Dance TV, Janey accompanies Lynne to the auditions anyway.

At the auditions, an enemy is made of spoiled rich girl Natalie Sands when she narrowly misses Lynne while parking her car. The auditions are going well until Lynne's partner is cut (it is later discovered that Natalie bribed Lynne's partner to sabotage her audition). Janey and a local high school kid, Jeff, both shine, and are partnered together once they make the finals. Jeff loves to dance, though he feels pressured to attend trade school after graduation, like his father did before him.

The two butt heads initially due to their disparate upbringings. Despite Jeff's natural ability to dance, he has never taken a class. Janey has been taking both gymnastics and dance classes for ten years. Helping them to get off on the wrong foot is also Janey's inability to practice, due to her strict father's rules. Things are further complicated by Natalie's meddling as she finds out that Janey skipped choir practice to meet Jeff and calls her father to tell, posing as "Sister Natalie".

An excellent opportunity for both girls to get back at Natalie presents itself when Jeff is invited to her coming out party. They make hundreds of copies of her invitation (provided by Jeff's best friend Drew) and pass them out to quite a few odd characters all over town. Jeff and Drew attend the party and watch the chaos ensue when all of the oddballs that were given invites show up (as do Lynne, Janey and Jeff's sister Maggie, watching from the window). Janey and Jeff have become close through their rehearsals. One night, he tells her to meet him not at the rehearsal studio but at a club. While they are enjoying some unstructured dance time, Jeff is taken away by a girl who locked her keys in her car. Meanwhile, a large admirer moves in on her. On Jeff's return, a fight ensues and after Jeff sucker punches the much larger man, they run out of the club together. Once at Janey's house, she is aglow over what her life has become: she is in the running to become a Dance TV regular, has a great best friend, as well as a boyfriend. They finally kiss before she excitedly runs inside.

Given the total wreck the party became, the rivalry with Natalie has intensified. She convinces her father to become more involved in ensuring her win. This is an easy feat considering that her father owns the company that Jeff's father works for. One day, Natalie's father, J.P. Sands, corners Jeff and tells him that if Natalie does not win, Jeff's father will lose his job. This puts him in a bad mood and he has a falling-out with Janey when he arrives at rehearsal. Her mood quickly matches his when she arrives home and sneaks into the house only to find that her father has installed a security system. He then grounds her for her continuous deception, making it virtually impossible for her to attend the dance contest final the next day.

Meanwhile, Jeff's surly attitude and decreased desire to be in the contest is noticed by his father. Once he finally gets his son to talk, he simply asks if he can win the contest. When Jeff answers yes, he is instructed to do so and not to worry about his father's job. However, Janey is still on restriction and does not know Jeff has changed his mind. However, that changes when her little brother brings her a message that Jeff will compete and she employs Lynne to get her out of the house undetected.

Once Lynne arrives, Janey cuts the wires to the security system and escapes the clutches of the guard dog. When they arrive at the station, Janey makes the elevator up to the studio and Lynne does not. She barely makes the beginning of the show, embracing and kissing Jeff as she arrives. The show begins and the competition is underway. At home, Janey's family turns on the television and sees her dancing. Her father, furious, storms out of the house, on the way to the studio. Meanwhile, Jeff's father watches the show from his neighborhood pub, surrounded by friends who are all cheering on Jeff and Janey.

After all of the dancers have performed on the live show, the decision comes back: there is a tie between Janey and Jeff and Natalie and her partner. A dance-off ensues. Natalie goes first and when done, strolls off the stage proudly, believing she has won. But after Janey tells Jeff "Let's do it", they pull out all the stops with a series of synchronized gymnastics Janey has taught Jeff over their time together. When the judges deliberate again, the decision is unanimous: Jeff and Janey win. Natalie is furious and begins to berate her partner over costing her the contest. When she goes to her father to complain, he finally puts his foot down and tells his spoiled daughter to shut up, to her amazement. When Janey spots her father in the studio, she thinks she is in for trouble, but he smiles and shows his enthusiasm at her obvious talent. Miss Dance TV is called to the stage and when she enters, it is none other than Lynne, who has received the job when the former Miss Dance TV quit during the show.



In July 1984 New World announced they would make a film inspired by Cyndi Lauper's hit song "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". The company bought the rights to the song and title from songwriter Robert Hazard's publishing company but Lauper said she did not want to appear in the film and refused to allow her version to be used.[1] The filmmakers were not allowed to use the alternations that Lauper made to the song, including adding several lyrics.[7]

In October the studio announced Sarah Jessica Parker was starring; she was known at the time for the TV series Square Pegs.[8] Parker said she agreed to do the film because the (uncredited) screenwriter, Janis Hirsch, was one of the writers on Square Pegs.[9]

"Janis wasn't into depicting people my age being stupid," said Parker. "I was impressed with her fondness for two best friends who aren't competitive."[9]

Helen Hunt said "They were looking for Goldie (Hawn) types when I was called in. But the director (Alan Metter) pulled me aside and said, `Sarah would kill to work with you.' It was really cool. Because I knew she wanted me to do the role, I felt I had the support to overcome my Sarah Lawrence looks."[9]

Hunt said she was allowed to "get real creative with who Lynne was... [I] went out and bought all these European magazines-then I did everything that wasn't in them.... I felt a responsibility to bring a sense of fun into the picture. And I knew that to do that, I had to have it for myself and then spread it around. So I brought Tofuti (the healthy ice cream) to the set and got a lot of tapes from Tower Records. It helped. When you're making a comedy and it's 2 in the morning and you're tired and nothing's going right, there's no way you can cut ahead and think, `Boy, this is going to be exciting when it comes out.' "[9]



The film received generally poor to mixed reviews. While certain critics considered the "cheesiness" factor a reason to watch the film, others said it was not a successful addition to the genre "80s teen movie".[10]

The New York Times called it "standard high school antics" where Metter "has a lighthearted if unremarkable style. The best thing he does here is to assemble a cute cast and simply let the kids bubble along. Helen Hunt is a real scene-stealer."[11]

The Philadelphia Inquirer said "Its main characters are appealing and well-acted" and has "a very clever parody of rock TV shows" but "degenerates into a mirthless comedy about young love and the generation gap, with a few feeble dance sequences thrown in to give viewers a chance to ogle young girls in leotards."[12]

The Los Angeles Times called it "infectious good fun".[13]

Box Office[edit]

The film opened at number ten at the box office in its first week making $1.6 million.[14]


This 1985 film's title is almost certainly based on the 1983 hit by Cyndi Lauper. However, Cyndi Lauper's version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" does not play in this film, due to licensing restrictions. Instead a cover of the song by unknowns Deborah Galli, Tami Holbrook, and Meredith Marshall is featured. The most popular song from the soundtrack is "(Come On) Shout", performed by session singer, Alex Brown. The song and the accompanying music video brought Alex some momentary fame during the time of the movie's release.


20th Century Fox and Lakeshore Entertainment in 2009 announced that they were working on a remake of the film and had hired Michelle Morgan to write the script. As of 2020, the film has not been made.[15]


  1. ^ a b POP EYE: ONE DUET TOO MANY FOR IGLESIAS POP EYE Goldstein, Patrick. Los Angeles Times 8 July 1984: y60.
  2. ^ Girls Just Want to Have Fun at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 52, Iss. 612, (Jan 1, 1985): 280.
  4. ^ "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985), retrieved February 14, 2020
  6. ^ "Who Should Star In The Girls Just Want To Have Fun Remake?". Stereogum. May 29, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  7. ^ No Lauper For This 'Girls' By Steve Pond Special to The Washington Post. The Washington Post 11 Apr 1985: B7.
  8. ^ PEOPLETALK Mulcahy, Susan. Philadelphia Inquirer 8 Oct 1984: C.2.
  9. ^ a b c d HEY! GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN OFFSCREEN TOO: [Home Edition] Caulfield, Deborah. Los Angeles Times 16 May 1985: 1.
  10. ^ "Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  11. ^ CYNDI LAUPER IN 'GIRLS JUST WANT FUN': [Review] Maslin, Janet. New York Times 12 May 1985: A.55.
  12. ^ FILM: TEEN TALE WITH A HIT SONG FOR A TITLE Tucker, Ken. Philadelphia Inquirer 11 May 1985: D.4.
  13. ^ 'GirlsJust Want to Have Fun' Goldstein, Patrick. Los Angeles Times 12 Apr 1985: sd_c1.
  14. ^ 'POLICE ACADEMY 2' TOPS WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: [THIRD Edition] Associated Press. Boston Globe 17 Apr 1985: 60.
  15. ^ "'Girls Just Want' to get remade - Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2009.

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