'Rich Girl' brings wealth of nonsense to the screen

On movies

May 07, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

''Rich Girl'' plays like a cross between ''42nd Street'' and ''Sweet Smell of Success.''

It isn't a very workable combination, but we've seen worse.

''Rich Girl'' is amateurish -- that's its worst sin. The good thing about it, however, is its brevity. The movie doesn't waste any time. It has a story to tell and does so with a minimum of fuss and manipulation. No plot thread is allowed to dangle longer than necessary, and there are quite a few of them.

''Rich Girl'' was produced by Michael B. London, formerly of Baltimore. Jill Schoelen stars. She plays Courtney Wells, a rich girl who can have everything and says she doesn't care. She tells her rich dad that she wants to make it on her own, so she gets a job in a club. Of course, she tries to get her hands on a trust fund her mother left her, so she doesn't want to be that much on her own.

Courtney is out of her element in the nightclub. She's a preppie among the trolls, but she's game and takes her job seriously. Eventually, she ends up singing with the house band.

Of course, you're not going to believe any of this, but then we never really believed that Ruby Keeler was going out on that stage as a chorus girl and coming back as a star in "42nd Street."

Don Michael Paul is the lead singer with the house group. He doesn't do his own singing but looks as though he does. There are some 23 musical numbers in the film, so you really have to like this kind of rock music to tolerate the film.

Ron Karabatsos plays Rocco, the club's kindly owner. The script writers throw a few unnecessary ethnic insults his way. Sean Kanan is the young man who still thinks he is engaged to Courtney, even after she has told him, time after time, that she wants out. Talk about thick.

The ''Sweet Smell of Success'' business comes about when Jeffrey (Kanan) plants drugs on Rick's motorcycle, and Rick is arrested and jailed. Courtney, however, gets him out, and in the end the two go off on his bike together.

As they ride off, Courtney's dad looks after them with apprehension and disapproval in his eyes. You can't blame him. Earlier, the rocker had driven his cycle with Courtney sitting behind him and holding her hands over his eyes. This guy is every father's nightmare, but then the girl is not every father's dream, either.

''Rich Girl'' is sub-standard. It is, however, relatively inoffensive, and you can't say that about every movie that comes along.

The new film is showing at local houses.


''Rich Girl'' * A wealthy young woman goes to work in a club where she falls love with the lead singer of the house band.

CAST: Jill Schoelen, Don Michael Smith, Ron Karabatsos, Paul Gleason, Sean Kanan

DIRECTOR: Joel Bender

RATING: R (sex, nudity, violence, language)

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

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