6.4/10
797
15 user 8 critic

Plain Clothes (1987)

To prove his brother's innocence, undercover officer Nick enrolls in high school again, dealing with crushes, bullies, humiliations, popularity swings, and quirky teachers and staff to find the real murderer.

Director:

Martha Coolidge

Writers:

Scott Frank (screenplay) (as A. Scott Frank), Scott Frank (story) (as A. Scott Frank) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arliss Howard ... Nick Dunbar
Suzy Amis ... Robin Torrence
George Wendt ... Chet Butler
Diane Ladd ... Jane Melway
Seymour Cassel ... Ed Malmburg
Larry Pine ... Dave Hechtor
Jackie Gayle ... Coach Zeffer
Abe Vigoda ... Mr. Wiseman
Robert Stack ... Mr. Gardner
Alexandra Powers ... Dawn-Marie Zeffer
Peter Dobson ... Kyle Kerns
Harry Shearer ... Simon Feck
Loren Dean ... Matt Dunbar
Reginald VelJohnson ... Captain Graff
Max Perlich ... Carter
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Storyline

Trying to get his brother out of jail, Nick has to bump his way out again from high school, find the murderer, keep his job as a policeman and run away from crazy little girls. Written by JS

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An Undercover Nightmare.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 March 1989 (Colombia) See more »

Also Known As:

Glory Days See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$222,681, 17 April 1988

Gross USA:

$289,323

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$289,323
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Nick goes undercover to high school the first day, he is wearing a very similar outfit as the boy he arrested at the beginning of the film. See more »

Quotes

Nick: Gee, Kyle, is this really fair? There are only three of you!
[two more Wardens appear]
Nick: Ah. That's more like it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Night with Suzy Amis Cameron (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

GOODBYE
Written by Billy Sherwood, Guy Allison and Jeff Silverman
Performed by Phil Perry
Produced by Billy Sherwood, Guy Allison and Jeff Silverman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good Acting, Good Script, Good Settings
19 May 2008 | by ssnow7See all my reviews

This a movie that stuck with me, with the odd line of dialogue, or the iconographic facial expression popping into my head unsolicited for years later. The humour is constant, but understated; the acting was all well-done, and the plot carried itself. The viewer sees Nick start off clumsily, and practically cheers when he starts to be affected by the kids he's never got along with as he starts to understand them.

Nick looks more developed than the bullies who try to intimidate him, but he always carries himself with a casually awkward air that could fit right in with a group of teens. His and Ms. Torrence's attraction to one another is carefully done - believable, but not overwhelming, so you forgive other characters missing it.

It is not easy playing a 'quirky' character in a movie like this. The cast had to walk a line, never going so far that the movie became slapstick (the script would not have supported that), and did an excellent job. Check out Diane Ladd, for instance: her implication that a by-the-book persona covered a passionate nature was perfectly done. And Abe Vigoda, with that fantastic face - looks like a basset hound when serious, like a game show host when smiling! Often he does both within a few seconds of each other. Seymour Cassel, Robert Stack, George Wendt, Suzy Amis, and Jackie Gayle all showed great comedic delivery.

The minimal violence and sex was well-done, as well. Often such things are better implied than shown, and although there was some (it IS a murder mystery, and there are romantic entanglements to deal with), it was appropriate. The music, montages, costuming and settings were all make for a believable a late-80s high school, although the dialogue was overblown for comedic effect.

There was a slight glitch in the characterization when it is at first implied Nick (like his brother) has a hair-trigger temper, and then spends most of the more tense, humiliating scenes acting like he has (more than) adult control. It worked for the plot, though. The clues dropped for the mystery are often disguised as humour; I do not think the audience will have an "Aha!" moment like Nick apparently does, but it worked well in this context.

More than one fan has said they want this on DVD - well, me, too! But I do not see a way to suggest it on Paramount's home page, so I will try to make do with a deteriorating VHS copy. If anyone wants to tell me how to make my vote known, I would welcome it! _Plain Clothes_ on digital! With any extras you can dig up after two decades! PLEASE!

(And, as an aside, what a useless title: when I tried to find this movie, the title was the thing I never remembered about it.)

All said, a fun, light-hearted movie, full of human nature, nostalgia, and quotable lines.


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