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Desperately Seeking Susan [VHS]

4.0 out of 5 stars 332 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This likeable, feminist screwball comedy about several incidents of mistaken identity is remembered more as the film that made Madonna a movie star. She's flip, hip, and energetic as Susan, the wild tramp with whom bored, suburban New Jersey housewife Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) becomes obsessed after reading of her sexual conquests in the personal ads. Of course, since Madonna essentially played herself, the role's hardly a stretch. Director Susan Seidelmen presents a series of zany incidents too complicated to recount, but the result is that Roberta swaps lifestyles with her fixation to explore New Wave culture on New York's Lower East Side. It's territory Seidelmen knew well as her more offbeat, indie debut, Smithereens, reveled in the same setting. But where Smithereens took a more edgy approach to its characters, Susan is a fairy tale romantic comedy, and eventually becomes as conventional as the suburban characters it mocks by settling conflicts with predictable Hollywood formulae. Still, there's much to be enjoyed. The film's at its funniest when juxtaposing New York hip and New Jersey suburbia, like when Arquette's straight, suit-and-tie husband dances with Madonna in a punk club. The performances, too, are engaging, especially Arquette and Aidan Quinn, playing a romantic film projectionist who becomes her grubby Prince Charming. --Dave McCoy

Product Details

  • Actors: Rosanna Arquette, Madonna, Aidan Quinn, Mark Blum, Robert Joy
  • Directors: Susan Seidelman
  • Writers: Leora Barish
  • Producers: Michael Peyser, Midge Sanford, Sarah Pillsbury
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 1999
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (332 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792841921
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,213 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Desperately Seeking Susan [VHS]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew I. Halpern on May 24, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The specs for the DVD aren't listed on amazon. This great 80's flick will include running audio commentary by the director as well as deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Just wanted anyone interested to know the extras on the DVD.
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Format: DVD
I've seen this movie probably about 50 or 60 times. It came out when I was a senior in high school and working at a movie theater that showed one movie at a time. DSS played for about 4 months. Hence, the numerous viewings. The movie has never stopped being funny, sweet, and relentlessly entertaining. I still find this movie a guilty pleasure, and I pop it in whenever I'm feeling down and need a pick-me-up. The cast is great: Aidan Quinn and Rosanna Arquette have great chemistry. Madonna is funny and sexy and at this point still has a real woman's body. Laurie Metcalf (as Becky) is simply superb. This woman is a genius and I'll never understand why she isn't a superstar. She has almost all the best lines in the film, and believe me there are many. Steven Wright makes a hilarious cameo. And look for John Turturro. The plot is as silly as they get, but the writing is sharp with tons of quotable lines. The movie is a time capsule of wonderful vintage 80s junk-chic, complete with soundtrack. Watch it and reminisce.
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Format: DVD
Considered by many to be Madonna's best film before she did Evita, "Desperately Seeking Susan" is a classic film for anyone interested by the 1980's and its' pop culture. Similar to what "Beverly Hills Cop" did for Los Angeles during that era, "Desperately Seeking Susan" capitulates on the hip and happening lifestyle found in the East Village and most importantly, Madonna.
Who knew how big Madonna would become? The essence of the Madonna we loved back when she was a rising star are all here. The dirty blonde hair, plastic bracelets, studded boots, they are all here. Although, the film was supposed to be a starring vehicle for Rosanna Arquette, everyone knows who stole the spotlight.
The film also served as an introductory spotlight for many stars who would find their niche here including a pre-"Roseanne" Laurie Metcalf, John Tuturro, Steven Wright, Iris Chacon (she is a big Latin television star who appears briefly on a television in the later half of the movie),Giancarlo Esposito and Aidan Quinn.
The score by Thomas Newman is wonderful and memorable, and Madonna again steal the spotlight, this time nusically with her memorable party classic "Into the Groove," played at the night club scene and during the ending credits.
Overall, the film captures the essence of life in the city versus that of the suburbs. If anyone wants to know what New York City was before the P.G. (Pre-Guiliani) age, then watch this film. As one of my favorite films of all time, I highly recommend it to all.
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Format: DVD
This is a great little comedy from the 80s. It did a great job of capturing the hip and trendy at the time as well as using the tried and true conventions of amnesia and mistaken identities and the fish-out-of-water gag. The cast is so appealing here: Arquette and Quinn are adorable; Metcalfe and Wright are hillarious, and Madonna is Madonna and that is just perfect for this film. A great rainy day or pick-me-up film that has aged well for the 80s in the same way Doris & Rock did for the 60s.
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By A Customer on July 14, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Back in the mid-Eighties, MTV played the video for Madonna's "Get into the Groove", the hit single from the soundtrack to *Desperately Seeking Susan*, about, oh, 120 freakin' times a day. The video featured so many clips from the film, and the network played the damn video so often, that I certainly never felt the need to see the movie. (Of course, my status as a rocker made seeing a movie starring Madonna prohibitive, anyway.) However, the additions of two decades of physical decay, a pot belly, and a few "distinguished" gray hairs -- in other words, maturity -- has made me appreciate now what I missed back then. Director Susan Seidelman's *Desperately Seeking Susan* is a pretty faultless farce, almost equal to Shakespeare's *Comedy of Errors* (from which it seems to draw its prime inspiration). The plot is impressively complicated: a well-to-do New Jersey housewife (Rosanna Arquette), when not hosting parties for her selfish husband, spends her time following the love affair of "Susan" and her beau in the Personal ads. A series of wildly implausible events culminates in her becoming an amnesiac. She's mistaken for "Susan" by the buddy of Susan's boyfriend, and so she naturally comes to believe that she really IS Susan. Whew! -- did I mention that someone's willing to kill "Susan" for her earrings, which turn out to be genuine Egyptian jewelry of great antiquity? The resolution to all this malarkey is composed like a great farcical fugue, with the plot elements falling lovingly into place (but even so, there's a surprise or two that awaits). Perhaps of even greater interest is the now-nostalgic view of 1980's New York City, which Seidelman renders with exactitude and a surprising amount of real, dirty, pre-Giuliani grit.Read more ›
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