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The Pick-up Artist (1987)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 18 September 1987 (USA)
A womanizer meets his match when he falls for a woman in debt to the mafia.


James Toback


James Toback

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Molly Ringwald ... Randy Jensen
Robert Downey Jr. ... Jack Jericho (as Robert Downey)
Dennis Hopper ... Flash
Danny Aiello ... Phil
Mildred Dunnock ... Nellie
Harvey Keitel ... Alonzo
Brian Hamill Brian Hamill ... Mike
Tamara Bruno Tamara Bruno ... Karen
Vanessa Williams ... Rae
Angie Kempf Angie Kempf ... Jack's Student
Polly Draper ... Pat
Frederick Koehler ... Richie
Robert Towne ... Stan
Victoria Jackson ... Lulu
Lorraine Bracco ... Carla


In New York City, Jack Jericho, an elementary school teacher who lives with and takes care of his ailing grandmother Nellie, is a bit of a scammer, most notably demonstrated by he continually rehearsing his corny pick-up line in front of the mirror. Along with his good looking but slightly broken down vintage red Camaro convertible and his surface charm, Jack scours the streets for women he is attracted to to use his well-rehearsed pick-up line, he asking the important questions, such as marital status of his potential conquests, after the fact if he asks at all, the answers to which he doesn't really care. These pick-ups work a small percentage of the time, which is good enough for him as he collects his conquests' telephone numbers written down on a well-worn piece of paper he carries around with him at all times. Jack eventually uses his pick-up routine on two women he spies at a nightclub associated with who he will learn is mobster Alonzo Scolara. The first is Lulu, Alonzo's dumb... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Pick-Up Artist... has finally met his match.


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cazachicas See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This is David Leigh MacLeod's only film as a producer. See more »


In the movie's final scene, Randi (Molly Ringwald) appears outside Jack's (Robert Downey Jr.) Home as Jack emerges. But Randi should have no idea where Jack lives, and the home belongs to his grandmother so he can't look it up. See more »


Randy Jensen: This may sound naive, but have you considered not getting involved with these men?
Harriet: Which men?
Randy Jensen: All of them.
Harriet: Come on, now. Men can be a lot of fun.
Randy Jensen: Well, fine, fine. Good, take the fun, but why get all involved? Why depend on them? Why trust them? So they can let you down just when you thought that you could count on them?
See more »


Referenced in Blackcatloner: Let's Talk Movies (2016) See more »


Written by Reggie Calloway
Performed by LeVert
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Starts off fantastic, but then goes way south after the first half hour
1 June 2016 | by spencer-w-hensleySee all my reviews

I saw a preview for this movie and happened to find it on an old VHS while glancing the thrift stores. When I first saw the trailer with Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr., I figured the movie had to be pretty good. I love Ringwald's work in the John Hughes films, and just like Downey in general so I thought I was in for a really funny, warm treat. Add to the cast Dennis Hopper, fresh off of an Oscar nod from the previous year's Hoosier's as well as Danny Aiello, Bob Gunton (warden Norton from my all time fave "The Shawshank Redemption) and Harvey Keitel, and you got what seems like a really fun comedy with a powerhouse cast.

And it starts off that way, but it takes some seriously wrong turns after the first half-hour and just gets progressively worse to the point where I wanted to take my eyes off the TV set. The so called "story" is very lame once the premise is established. Downey plays his usual sarcastic, self-centered character, who happens to be a womanizer here, who tries to put all of his smooth moves on Ringwald (what guy in the 80's wouldn't have tried though?). She at first is uninterested but he is her only saving grace when gangster Keitel and his hit men, kidnap Hopper playing Ringwald's father, and Downey is forced to come up with the ransom money to save Hopper and ultimately Ringwald's lives.

The problem here is with this fantastic cast, the story and characters should be much more interesting and likable, not bland and generic like it is here. The movie would have been better with Downey's character being the same and leaving more room for character development getting to know both he Ringwald's characters better and taking them on another crazy adventure rather than the stupid mob sub-plot that is the focus here. Ringwald also seems like she's trying too hard to be an adult actress here, and not be typecast-ed with her typical teen roles from her tenure with Hughes. Taking this approach however is not successful, as her character here is bland and unlikable. The movie would have been much better here, if she would have played a character similar to the ones she did in "The Breakfast Club," or "Pretty in Pink." When actors try hard to be different than their usual persona, they come across as unlikable and that's definitely the case with Ringwald here. Maybe if John Hughes would have directed this, it would have been a different, and certainly much better movie.

Also, the supporting cast is entirely wasted and all characters are underdeveloped. Hopper seems like he is doing a much more comical version of his character from "Hoosiers" here, and it gets rather annoying quite quickly, especially considering he played the same character exactly a year before and did it much better then. He is also given very little to do, and the fact he receives screen credit is ridiculous, this could have easily been an extended cameo, and a bad one at that. What a waste of Hopper's fine talent. Fortunately we have better movies in his career before and after this to remember him by like "Easy Rider," "Hoosiers", "Blue Velvet" and "Speed".

Keitel is also annoying here, playing his usual tough-guy role, and he forces it so much that after a while it just becomes plain laughable. That role works for other movies but doesn't cut it here. He is wasted here, and given a bad role. Even Joe Pesci or Danny De Vito would have been better suited for this part, and could have brought some humor and originality to the character. Keitel plays it so straight that it's just painful to watch. The character is irritating and extremely one-dimensional. Didn't the director tell him this was a comedy before he signed on?

Gunton, a fine character actor is also wasted here and given nothing to do, same for Aiello. And then of course, there's Downey who puts a lot of effort into his character, but acts as if he knows the script stinks and aims to do his best with it. Downey does a generally good job, and gives the movie some saving grace, but this character would be suited better with another script and in another movie.

All in all the movie is very forgettable and wastes it's fine cast, who deserved a much better script, story and direction than what they got.

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