Baby It's You (1983)



(director/writer: John Sayles; screenwriter: story by Amy Robinson/Amy Robinson; cinematographer: Michael Ballhaus; editor: Sonya Polonsky; cast: Rosanna Arquette (Jill Rosen), Vincent Spano (Albert ‘Sheik’ Capadilupo), Joanna Merlin (Mrs. Rosen), Jack Davidson (Dr. Rosen), Nick Ferrari (Mr. Capadilupo), Dolores Messina (Mrs. Capadilupo), Marta Kober (Debra, High School Girl); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Griffin Dunne/Amy Robinson; Paramount Pictures; 1983)

“An uneven teenage romantic comedy by John Sayles.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An uneven teenage romantic comedy by John Sayles (“Matewan”/”City of Hope”/”Return of the Secaucus Seven”), based on a story by Amy Robinson. It tells of a mid-1960s high school romance in Trenton, New Jersey between a pair of opposites from “different sides of the track.” Jill Rosen (Rosanna Arquette) is a college-bound, middle-class, naive, smart and pretty Jewish girl interested in drama and Sheik Capadilupo (Vincent Spano) is a self-absorbed lower-class confidant Italian who is a great dresser interested in looking good and acting Sinatra-like cool. Sheik tells Jill that only three people matter to him ”Jesus Christ, Frank Sinatra and me.” The handsome ‘car booster’ pushes his way into the headstrong girl’s crowded school-oriented life by stalking her until she agrees to go out with him, and though their romance seems impossible we follow their relationship through high school and what happens when she goes off to Sarah Lawrence college and gets influenced by the hippie counter-culture, frets over school pressures and no longer finds him compatible. But they still keep contact with each other, as he ends up having to face reality in Miami by getting a gig lip-synching Sinatra hits in a raunchy nightclub. They have a bitter-sweet reunion in Miami and in the conclusion he realizes that his dreams will not come true, and he leaves Miami to see Jill once again in her dorm for a bitter-sweet reconciliation.

It was for indie filmmaker Sayles his first film to be made with financial backing by a major studio (Doubleday backed it and Paramount bought it), but he swore it would be his last as he was pissed that he lost final editing cut. For Sayles this is lighter fare than what he usually tackles, but he fights through all the teenage clichés to give his own spin on this romance, the significance of social-class differences, how it is to finally grow up by listening to your heart and to change with the times.

The film is aided by the music of Bruce Springsteen, Sinatra and Shirelles.