American teen flicks are never short of clichés, and this musical comedy is no exception, packing in most of the genre conventions on the way to its wildly over-the-top all-dancing finale. However, another confident performance by Sarah Jessica Parker, the bride-for-barter in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), rescues this outing from obscurity.
Here she convincingly plays Roman Catholic high-school student Janey Glenn who incurs her father’s wrath by entering a competition to find new dancers for the television dance programme, Dance TV.
Janey – with years of gymnastic and dance classes behind her – is a hot competitor. As is her newfound best friend, the parochial school new waver, Lynne (played with funky, feisty ultra hipness by a young Helen Hunt).
When the preliminary dance-off is held, Lynne is quickly eliminated thanks to the skullduggery of a spoiled rich girl named Natalie (Holly Gagnier) who is determined to win the DTV gig herself. But Janey survives – and is awarded a partner: dark and hunky working-class hero Jeff Malene (Lee Montgomery).
The remainder of Girls Just Want To Have Fun concerns the preparations by Jeff and Janey for the big DTV shootout. Janey has trouble making rehearsals with Jeff, however, because her retired army colonel father keeps her confined to quarters when she isn’t at school. Jeff’s big problem crops up when the tycoon father of the dancing debutante tells the lad to throw the contest – or cost his father his factory job.
But love and dance conquer all, and along the way, there is one rather diverting sequence in which Janey and Lynne pass out photocopies of an invitation to Natalie’s coming-out party to every freak they can find in downtown Chicago.
It’s a pleasant enough hour and a half – a sort of wholesome Flashdance for the bubblegum set.
Sarah Jessica Parker