Entertainment » Movies

Losin' It

by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Mar 19, 2019
Losin' It

It's very funny going through early acting efforts from performers that conquer mainstream Hollywood cinema today, such as Tom Cruise. The same year that "Risky Business" graced theaters, so did the other Cruise-starring coming-of-age sex comedy "Losin' It." While both films share much of the same subject matter, one is genuine, about watching the actor navigate his own burgeoning sexuality with kindness and tact. The other is more interested in inflating the raunchy aspects and plopping a cast of characters in the middle of a plot filled with hastily drawn racist caricatures. It shouldn't be hard to guess which is which.

Woody (Tom Cruise), Dave (Jackie Earle Haley), Spider (John Stockwell), and Wendell (John P. Navin Jr.) are all teenage buddies in 1965-era Los Angeles obsessed with the prospect of getting laid. That's why they decide to travel to Tijuana, where prostitution is legal, to get their rocks off. What they get instead of getting laid is a night full of hijinks, as they end up pissing off more people than they intended to. Now that they're trying to navigate a land and culture they're unaware and judgmental of, the gang finds themselves trying to make it out of Mexico alive.

There's a certain nostalgia for sex comedies from the '80s like this one and others that resemble films like "Porky's." What I'm here to say is that not only do a lot of them not hold up under scrutiny, they're damaging in the way they depict adolescents going through the throes of puberty. With "Losin' It," a trip to Tijuana means all of these boys' sexual dreams are to be fulfilled. They've been led to believe that if you have the cash, those dreams can be made into reality. And while the film details the many ways in which that presumption is wrong, it no less does so by villainizing another culture in an attempt to make the audience empathize with its cast of teenagers. Tijuana isn't depicted as a place for dreams to be made real as it's depicted as a place that's like a low-rent carnival with sex and booze - a carnival that takes on all kinds of racial stereotypes.

While I don't look to films like "Losin' It" for detailing the many moral complications of its own story, there's a lot of truth to this stage of a kid's life suppressed in favor of watching the cast fall into more and more complicated situations. With a new 2K remaster, "Losin' It" is out on Blu-ray for the first time ever by way of Kino Lorber's Studio Classics label. I've said this before to others about the label's catalog and I'll say it again: Even when the films they release are wrongheaded, they are important. While "Losin' It" may not be transgressive in its politics to make a point, it's important in the context of history because comedies just like this were running rampant and fed into damaging depictions of being a teenager confused about their sexuality. And, as always, it's important in understanding the trajectory of future careers like Tom Cruise's.

"Losin' It"
Kino Lorber Blu-ray


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