Steeped so deeply in the ’80s that you can smell the Drakkar Noir, “Cruise” is a throwback to the decade’s melodramas such as “Endless Love.” Screenwriter Robert Siegel’s second directorial outing is better as an exercise in nostalgia than as a film, but it deserves some praise for its faithful re-creation of a time and a place.
In the summer of 1987 in Whitestone, Queens, N.Y., Italian American bad boy Gio Fortunato (Spencer Boldman) spends his time stealing car radios, winning drag races and going to Carvel for ice cream. When he meets Jewish good girl Jessica Weinberg (Emily Ratajkowski), he’s instantly smitten, but her upper-class roots threaten to keep the couple apart, as does her imminent return to Brown University in the fall.
With its devotion to the particulars of a character’s unique world, in this case, outer-borough teen/20-something culture in the ’80s, the film bears a passing resemblance to Siegel’s other screenplays — ”Big Fan,” “The Wrestler” and “The Founder.” However, it lacks the depth of his previous work, offering little insight into Gio and Jessica or the relationship between them.
“Cruise” puts all of its energy into creating a pitch-perfect ‘80s movie, including a soundtrack with Stacey Q and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, but its oft-told story of opposites attracting feels about as fresh as an actual film from the period.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Starts Sept. 28, AMC Universal CityWalk 19; also on VOD