The silly saga of an unjustly accused Texas teenager who becomes a pop hero by getting a punk haircut and some New Wave fashions and strutting the streets of Corpus Christi as a symbol of misunderstood youth.
Billi Jean Davy (Helen Slater) and her brother, Binx (Christian Slater, no relation despite their resemblance), are muddling through an underprivileged adolescence in a seedy trailer park when a rich bully (Barry Tubb) steals Binx’s motor scooter.
Efforts to recover the scooter lead to a fracas in which the bully’s lecherous father (Richard Bradford) is shot. Because no adult will believe the shooting was an accident, the siblings are forced to become fugitives.
That’s when Billie Jean finds her new image and begins to make her own videos, spreading the message that most grown-ups – especially men – are either villains or dolts.
The film’s other characters support that theory. A cop assigned to the case (Peter Coyote) can’t find Billie Jean even though she constantly parades through town with dozens of young followers who have adopted her trendy look. Billie Jean’s vaguely concerned mother (Mona Lee Fultz) and a bumbling attorney (Dean Stockwell in a giant step backwards on his movie comeback trail) are no help at all.
Most of the other adults seem to be child abusers and trigger-happy rednecks.
Despite the frequent gunfire and careening cars, no one ever seems to get seriously hurt and there’s minimal bloodshed. Billie Jean has an all-purpose method of dealing with her adversaries – a well-aimed knee in the groin.
Helen Slater – whose Texas accent is thick as molasses in some scenes and non-existent in others – can’t do anything with a ridiculous role. The other performances range from negligible to obnoxious.
Mona Lee Fultz
John M. Jackson