After several viewings, Secret Admirer is still as mean-spirited and male-centric as it was when it was first made, and the biggest problem of the film is that Howell’s character is such an idiot and he’s therefore hard to like.
“You’re one gutsy virgin!”
Young would-be lovers get mixed up in their own secret admirer love letters.
On the last day of school before summer break, high schooler Michael Ryan (C. Thomas Howell from Red Dawn) receives a letter from a secret admirer, and when his buddies find out about it, they convince him that the letter is from the hottest girl in school: Deborah (Kelly Preston from Mischief), who is dating a blowhard named Steve (Scott McGinnis from Making the Grade), an older boy. Michael buys into the idea, and in order to win Deborah over he decides to write her secret admirer letters in return. With help from his cute friend Toni (Lori Loughlin from Rad), he crafts love letters to his dream girl, but Toni rewrites all his letters and manages to get Deborah to fall for him sight unseen. When Michael and Deborah meet up for a date and manage to get to third base, Toni’s heart is broken because she’s the one who wrote him the original secret letter and Michael is too stupid and selfish to realize that Deborah isn’t right for him. With some mix-ups and goofy shenanigans, Michael’s parents find his love letters and think they’re each cheating on each other with other people, but the truth is much simpler and easier to handle: Their son is tangled up in love.
After several viewings, Secret Admirer is still as mean-spirited and male-centric as it was when it was first made, and the biggest problem of the film is that Howell’s character is such an idiot and he’s therefore hard to like. Despite the similar (and relatable) plot to Cyrano de Bergerac, most of the other characters in the film are difficult to relate to – particularly Preston’s unlikable hot bitch character, who has zero appeal next to looking amazing. Supporting roles played by Fred Ward (who overdoes it), Dee Wallace Stone, and Cliff De Young as parents of the younger characters careen into unbelievable spoof territory, while younger characters played by Corey Haim, Courtney Gains, and Casey Siemaszko are easier to digest. The best aspect of the film is a killer 80’s soundtrack, with some synthesizer work by Jan Hammer. Written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, and directed by Greenwalt.
Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray edition of Secret Admirer outdoes previous releases, including the Olive Blu-ray, which was bare-bones in the special features department. Kino’s release includes a brand new HD master, which sparkles, and also has a new audio commentary by the director, the co-writer, the associate producer, and a film histria moderator. Also includes are the theatrical trailer and radio spots.