Roberta is desperate to be Susan. Susan is wanted by the mob. The mob finds Roberta instead...
and also, A life so outrageous it takes two women to live it.
Cast overview, first billed only:
.... Roberta Glass
Mark Blum .... Gary Glass
Robert Joy (I) .... Jim
.... Leslie Glass
Anna Levine (I) .... Crystal
Will Patton .... Wayne Nolan
Peter Maloney (I) .... Ian
(I) .... Larry Stillman D.D.S
Anne Carlisle .... Victoria
José Santana (I) .... Boutique Owner
Giancarlo Esposito .... Street Vendor
.... Bruce Meeker
So like, it's 1985 and Roberta
(Rosanna Arquette) is married to a self-posessed yuppie named Gary - the self-described Spa King of New Jersey (Mark Blum). Her life is so exciting that many of her diary entries
are along the lines of, "I woke up in the middle of the night and ate all the leftover cake
in the fridge."
But not all, friends. Oh no, not all. When Roberta's not recounting the details of her own stupid life, she's trying to piece together someone else's: the subject of a series of personal ads headlined "Desperately seeking Susan," with which Roberta is completely obsessed.
So much so that, knowing Susan is slated to meet someone in New York one day, Roberta actually heads to the big city to witness the event. She buys a vintage jacket that, apparently, once belonged to Susan. She gets conked on the head and - guess what?- gets amnesia. Even more surprisingly, she is mistaken for Susan.
This is supposed to be the point in the movie where the plot really picks up. Because like, sure, some guy is totally in love with Susan and keeps taking out these ads (I think). And then, for some reason, the mob is totally hot on her trail. I forget why. The plot obviously has little to do with the fact that I've seen this movie upwards of a dozen times.
See like Susan is played by Madonna. And Madonna has always been 100 percent hot, mind you, but in 1985 she defined style, walking around Greenwich Village in little black thrift store tutus with her blonde, blonde hair and dark, dark highlights and costume jewelry. Then Rosanna Arquette starts dressing just like her, and it's almost too much to take. Then Aidan Quinn falls in love with Rosanna Arquette and he wears, like, a fedora, and, like, you get to see his ass.
Also, for some reason, Madonna ends up in New Jersey with Roberta's husband and they totally smoke pot together and laugh about the fact that he is the spa king of New Jersey. And then his sister, Laurie Metcalf (you know, Jackie from Roseanne) comes over and convinces Gary that Roberta has become a prostitute and/or lesbian and finally Madonna figures out what's going on (which places her way ahead of the rest of us). So they go back to NYC, all three of them plus Steven Wright (who plays a dentist!) and find Roberta in hiding in some damn magic show. And it ends somehow. I can't really remember, except "Get Into the Groove" is playing in the nightclub.
You should watch this because it's, like, one of the quintessential movies of the 1980s, as far as I'm concerned. In part, the style and soundtrack (and the fact that it's Madonna's first (big) movie, and her character isn't stupid like in Who's That Girl?) make this so. Also because Laurie Metcalf, at the top of her lungs, urges her brother to "Take a Valium like a normal person!" You should watch it if you like seeing meek, suburban housewives turn into bohemian megababes overnight. You should watch it if you have any interest whatsoever in Aidan Quinn's ass. I mean social satire, because it contains that. I swear. You should watch it if you are totally into the good side of 1980s fashion and hairstyling, or merely into making fun of the Valium-popping, non-sock-wearing yuppie culture of the period. You should watch it if you are an obsessive reader of personal ads, or if you like totally just want to watch me revert to junior high-style silliness and Madonna worship. You will not be disappointed.