If history has taught us anything, it’s that producing a quality teen comedy is a risky endeavour, and getting the correct mix of laughs, heart and genuine emotion without coming across as trite, convoluted or lame is a lesson in cultural chemistry. And it’s easy to see the failures out there, as the cinematic world is littered with subpar teen/romantic comedies that attempted to follow the pattern of success crafted by other, more successful filmmakers, only to fail spectacularly along the way. While we won’t do those films the disservice of drawing attention to their mediocrity, what we will do is highlight the exceptional work of the filmmakers who have given us some of the greatest teen comedies of all time; in fact, we’ve got 10 of ’em lined up for you here, with a little something for everyone (John Hughes is for everyone, right?).
10. Risky Business (1987)
Often, a film will be remembered for a single, iconic scene; in 1987’s Risky Business, you’d know that scene in an instant, since it’s been parodied innumerable times in various places. Involving young Tom Cruise, a pink dress shirt, a lack of pants and one classic Bob Seger song about that old time rock and roll, the scene in question has wormed its way into the annals of cinema history, and it’s dragged this Paul Brickman directed film with it. Following the adventures of a young man named Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise), who attempts to have a little fun while his parents are away, with the help of a prostitute named Lana, Risky Business was released to near universal acclaim with critics praising the film’s deeper themes of consumerism and the loss of innocence. The film that launched Cruise towards leading man territory, Risky Business remains a must-watch teen comedy that dabbles in satire and smart humor as well as riotous teenage rebellion.