Career Opportunities

1991, Movie, PG-13, 84 mins

Review

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Rising young star Frank Whaley (IRONWEED, FIELD OF DREAMS, THE DOORS) heads a talented cast in CAREER OPPORTUNITIES, a charming Hughes Entertainment production about a 21-year-old dreamer from the Midwest.

The film opens with Jim Dodge (Whaley), losing yet another job. Jim's blue-collar father Bud (John M. Jackson), not thrilled that his son is still living at home, pressures him to find a new job and support himself. Meanwhile, across town, Josie McClellan (Jennifer Connelly), daughter of ruthless real estate mogul Roger Roy McClellan (Noble Willingham), grows more unhappy with her life at home. Jim eventually lands a menial job as the night janitor at a Target discount store. Left alone in the giant emporium, he makes the most of it--eating, playing golf, watching TV and so on. While roller-skating through the aisles in his underwear, he sees Josie, who's been hiding in the store.

Before long, the two are discussing their school years--he was an outcast, she was a debutante. Josie confesses that she wanted to shoplift and then get caught as she was leaving the store, but she chickened out. She wanted to get arrested and embarass her father. She later reveals that her father beats her. Jim and Jennifer agree to go to California together. Just as they are celebrating their impulsive but happy decision, robbers break into the store and hold them hostage. Josie convinces the thieves to take her with them. But before you can say "attention shoppers," Josie drives away with their car. In the meantime, Jim gets the custodian's shotgun out of the locker room. The robbers come back into the store and Jim captures them. At the end of the movie, Jim and Josie move to the sunny paradise of southern California.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES is an entertaining film with interesting characters the viewer can actually care about. Bryan Gordon directs a likable and talented cast which really makes the material work. And some of the off-beat incidental characters such as the custodian (William Forsythe) and officer Don (Barry Corbin of TV's "Northern Exposure") add some nice touches of humor to the story. Also, having most of the action take place in a department store, and bringing this unlikely pair together here during the graveyard shift, is a clever idea. The only real flaw in this film is that we need to see more of Jim's family and his home life. (Profanity, sexual situations.) leave a comment

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