You’ve probably heard the expression, “One step forward, two steps back.” I can’t think of a better way to sum up this new version of For the Record: John Hughes. After the staggering success of the Paul Thomas Anderson show, this is a revision that didn’t need to happen.
I’ve always enjoyed how neatly and effortlessly theses shows travel from one film to another. They’ve thrown that structure out the window for this show, illogically mixing and matching scenes from Hughes’ various Brat Pack movies. Not only is the cast forced to continually change costumes, the audience has to keep track of what film we’re in, and it’s not easy or natural. Even if you’re familiar with iconic teen angst films like “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Weird Science,” you are likely to be confused.
Having seen the show more than once, I can tell you that the band still smokes and the cast gives it their all. I do have to call out Barret Foa’s performance, but not because I liked it. Mr. Foa is quite talented, but his work here borders on narcissism. I never felt that I was watching the characters, just an actor showing off.
I hope that this was a mere blip in the successful For the Record series. Perhaps the challenge of reconfiguring shows to take advantage of the expanded space isn’t always going to work for the older ones. Time will tell. In the meantime, the next show, For the Record: Martin Scorsese, will hopefully put this series back on track.