STAYING ALIVE

year: 1983
cast: John Travolta, Cynthia Rhodes, Finola Hughes
bad movie rating: ***1/2

This is not a John Travolta film. It belongs entirely to writer/director Sylvester Stallone, rehashing the Rocky storyline of a dimwitted diamond-in-the-rough Italian fighting to survive... only in this case it's a dancer, not a boxer, and unlike Rocky, it's a bad movie. Travolta fights to make it from his former struggling strutter to lead dancer in what's perhaps the gayest Broadway musical ever created (named "Satan's Alley," inspired by Sly's "Paradise Alley"). Playing the character he made famous in "Saturday Night Fever", our man's in great shape, but look too thin, gaunt, strung-out. He charms his way into the bed of a beautiful Broadway star (Finola Hughes) who turns the tables and plays him... and there's an overabundance of Travolta getting his just-deserts: the player being played, played to the hilt while he's using his pretty, gullible girlfriend (Cynthia Rhodes) who can't help but to love the handsome devil. Her love for him is even more annoying than his lust for the femme fatale. And eventually, of course, like Rocky, our hero ends up champion of a game he never thought he'd had a chance in to begin with. Overall, it's terrible fun. Terrible yet fun. Terrible. Fun. Terribly fun. 

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