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Greg Beeman
Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Carol Kane, Richard Masur, Heather Graham
Writing Credits:
Neil Tolkin

Some guys get all the brakes!

For teenager Les Anderson (Corey Haim), the two most important things in life are getting his driver's license and getting together with the hottest girl in high school (Heather Graham in one of her first film roles). But when Les fails the exam, he borrows the family's prized '73 Cadillac for his big date. An innocent girl. A harmless drive. What could possibly go wrong? Try a fearless best friend (Corey Feldman) with an insane plan, a high school hottie with too much to drink, angry drag racers, crazed militants, a police roadblock, a crash course in car theft, a very angry father (Richard Masur), a very, very pregnant mother (Carol Kane) and much more! Nina Siemaszko and Grant Goodeve co-star in the awesome '80s comedy hit now loaded with exclusive extras, including all-new interviews with Corey Haim and Corey Feldman!

Box Office:
$8 million.
Domestic Gross
$22.433 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 5/3/2005

• Audio Commentary with Director Greg Beeman and Writer Neil Tolkin
• Deleted Scene
• Interviews with Corey Feldman and Corey Haim
• Trailers and TV Spots
• DVD-ROM Screenplay
• Booklet


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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License To Drive: Special Edition (1988)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 99, 2007)

My last encounter with “The Coreys” didn’t go well, as I thought 1989’s Dream a Little Dream was an utter disaster as a film. I tried again with 1988’s License to Drive, a comedic look at kids with newly-minted permits. Drive introduces us to Les Anderson (Corey Haim), a lazy teen who literally dreams of getting his license and tooling around in a hot sports car with high school dream girl Mercedes Lane (Heather Graham).

For the time being, however, Les is stuck on a bus or on a bicycle with best buddy Dean (Corey Feldman). Matters start to look up when Mercedes uses Les to lash out at her snooty older boyfriend Paolo (MA Nickles). Mercedes backs out of plans with Paolo when she pretends to have a date with Les. It turns out he actually makes this happen, but he has to break a promise to his dad (Richard Masur) to do so.

He gets grudging forgiveness, but one obstacle to the big date remains: Les needs to pass his driving test and get his license before he can take out Mercedes. Although a computer glitch initially allows him to get his license, a correction changes this and leaves Les without the desired permit. When Mercedes pursues the date, this leaves him stuck in a tough spot. Les does what every horny teen would do: steals the family car and drives illegally. The movie follows his adventures as he tries to woo the girl and stay out of trouble.

Without question, Drive works much better than Dream. Thus essentially ends the “faint praise” part of the review. Actually, unlike the unbearable Dream, Drive remains consistently watchable. I couldn’t call this a bad flick, as it presents a minor diversion.

However, that’s not enough to make me consider Drive to even remotely approach the territory of good movie. Really, Drive presents something of an exercise in comedic inevitability. We can see all the gags coming from a mile away, and the movie does nothing to make them seem less easy to anticipate. There’s not a surprise or a genuinely clever moment to be found here.

Indeed, Drive reminds me of a teen-oriented version of After Hours. This is a flick in the “ordinary guy, wacky circumstances” vein. The stabs at comedy stem from all the misery and challenges heaped upon Les – and how he extricates himself from these problems. We never worry that something bad will actually befall Les, as we know he’ll end up okay. It’s a predictable genre and Drive brings out nothing interesting with its material.

Drive also suffers from a really dated feel. The entire movie screams “Eighties!” Its tone, its style, its gags, its characters, its fashions and its music all remind us heavily of the era from which it comes. Even sexy Heather Graham fails to inspire lust due to her absurd Eighties hairstyle. Did we actually think dos like that looked good? Yeah, I guess we did, but they certainly appear ridiculous now.

Some folks think that we shouldn’t knock movies because they represent their eras. I agree to a certain degree, as we can’t expect every movie to magically become timeless. However, some flicks suffer from dated qualities more than others, and that’s the issue with Drive. It so firmly ensconces itself in its period that all those elements turn into a massive distraction almost 20 years later. Its not just the visuals; the whole Eighties wacky comedy attitude of Drive sticks us in its era, and not in a positive manner.

The flick never displays enough charm or humor to compensate for all its flaws, and most of the actors don’t help. Haim lacks the talent to carry the flick. He mugs and smirks his way through the movie but never emerges as a likable personality. I don’t think he’s really a bad actor, but he’s clearly not strong enough to keep us interested for 90 minutes. A few talents appear in supporting roles, and they help a little. However, this remains Haim’s baby, and he doesn’t deliver the presence needed to make the film succeed.

Add to that an absolutely idiotic climax and License to Drive never manages to become a winning flick. Again, despite all my criticisms, I wouldn’t call this a genuinely bad movie. It moves at a fast pace and provides passable entertainment for its 90 minutes. However, I can think of thousands of more amusing, enjoyable flicks, so I can’t think of reasons to bother with this one.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

License to Drive appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While perfectly watchab;e, the transfer lacked a lot of strengths.

Among those weaknesses, colors tended to be pale and flat. I found it tough to figure out if some of this connected to visual design. The hues took on an airy, dreamy look much of the time, and I guess that made sense within the semi-fantasy tone of the film. However, enough examples of brighter tones occurred to make me feel that the drab, messy hues were a weakness and not a stylistic choice.

Blacks tended to be decent, though they were a little murky. Shadows seemed visible but not particularly dynamic; those elements usually looked a bit dense. Sharpness came across as erratic. Many shots seemed acceptably distinctive, but quite a few appeared moderately hazy and soft.

At least I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement created no concerns. In addition, the movie suffered from virtually no source flaws, as the transfer looked clean throughout the flick. This mix of ups and downs left the image as a “C+”.

I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Drive fell into the category of fine but not memorable. Audio quality seemed pretty good for the most part. Music was something of a weak link, as the many songs suffered from the treble-heavy, lackluster bass production typical of the era. Within those parameters, the music seemed acceptable, though the high-end emphasis made these elements less than terrific. At least the score contributed pretty decent low-end to the piece at times, though much of it seemed thin as well.

The rest of the audio seemed good. Speech was fairly natural and concise, without edginess or other flaws. Effects also came across with reasonable clarity. They never packed a great punch, but they showed solid enough range to work fine.

As for the soundfield, it added a little pizzazz to the package. The broadness of the comedy meant some exaggerated effects that spread around the setting. Localization seemed decent, though a little sloppiness occasionally occurred. The surrounds contributed some reinforcement of the general ambience but not a whole lot else. Some driving scenes were a little more involving at least. This was a satisfactory track for its age.

Drive comes with a surprisingly broad array of extras. We begin with an audio commentary from director Greg Beeman and writer Neil Tolkin. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They cover the project’s origins and path to the screen, the story, the script and inspirations, cast and performances, stunts and effects, locations and budgetary concerns, costumes, music and visual design, the altered ending and a mix of other production subjects.

Light and lively, this turns into a fun commentary. The guys joke with each other enough to entertain, but they also make sure we learn quite a lot about the flick. Too much of the commentary revolves around scenes that they like, but this remains a pretty solid chat.

One Deleted Scene lasts a whopping 14 minutes and seven seconds. In this long clip, we see a caper that involves a car which looks just like Les’s grandfather’s Caddy. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, though it might be more difficult to follow due to the abysmal quality of the snippet. It’s eminently forgettable in any case.

Two separate interviews with the stars appear here. We hear from Corey Haim (10:03) and Corey Feldman (17:33). The seriously porked-up Haim discusses his casting, his fellow actors and their work together, Beeman’s directorial style, his bizarre tendency to always act with his mouth wide open, and other aspects of the production.

As for Feldman, he chats about his relationship with Haim, how he came onto Drive, dealing with teen fans, working on the flick and trying to date Heather Graham, controversies and a few additional elements from the shoot. Both interviews offer pretty good notes about the flick, though Feldman’s proves more interesting. He comes across as a bit full of himself, but he also dishes a little dirt about how wild he and Haim were at the time.

In addition to two TV Spots, we find two trailers. DVD-ROM users can gain access to the film’s screenplay. Finally, the package includes an eight-page booklet. This presents production notes, cast facts, and trivia questions about the flick.

A dated teen adventure, License to Drive will appeal solely to those with nostalgia for the glory days of the Coreys. While not a poor film, it’s a lackluster comedic romp without the needed wit or cleverness to succeed. The DVD presents decent picture and audio along with a surprisingly interesting roster of supplements. If you like Drive, you’ll be reasonably pleased with this release, but I can’t recommend the disc to folks without a prior love for the movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2857 Stars Number of Votes: 21
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