The Pick-up Artist (film)

The Pick-up Artist is a 1987 American romantic comedy film written and directed by James Toback, starring Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey

The Pick-up Artist
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Toback
Produced byWarren Beatty
David Leigh MacLeod
Written byJames Toback
Music byGeorges Delerue
CinematographyGordon Willis
Edited byDavid Bretherton
Angelo Corrao
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
September 18, 1987
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$13,290,368


Randy Jensen is a smart, independent tour guide who beats womanizer Jack Jericho at his own game. After a quick fling, her indifference only causes him to become smitten with her.

Randy is too busy for romance, trying to keep her alcoholic gambler father, Flash Jensen, out of harm's way. Jack's persistence soon pays off when he offers to help rescue Randy's dad from the mob.



James Toback wrote the film for Warren Beatty who liked the script but was reluctant to play a character driven by his erotic compulsions. Toback then considered Robert De Niro but ultimately decided the role should be played by a younger actor.[1]

The film was at Paramount. Then in 1984 Beatty bought it and set up the production at Fox. Toback says the film was "not even remotely" based on Beatty. "The guy in the script chases after people. Warren always has people chasing after him."[2]

It was Toback's fourth film as director. He says his first three "were all dark movies that ended unhappily. Now I'm taking a vacation from dread and gloom. If you were casting Pick Up Artist 30 years ago you would have wanted Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. No two actors would have been more wrong for my other movies."[2]


Critical response

The film has gained generally mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a 57% rating based on 21 reviews.[3][4][5][6]

Box office

The film opened at number 5 at the US Box Office.[7]

Home media

The film was released on Laser Disc in 1987, then on DVD on December 16, 2003.[8]


  1. James Toback, "A Hollywood Mis-Education", Vanity Fair, March 2014 accessed 10 February 2014
  2. Hartmetz, Aljean (20 September 1985). "A Russian Director gives a diagnosis". New York Times. p. c8.
  3. "The Pick-Up Artist (1987)".
  4. Maslin, Janet (1987-09-18). "Movie Review - The Pick Up Artist - Film: 'Pickup Artist,' From James Toback -". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  5. Roger Ebert (1987-09-18). "The Pick-Up Artist :: :: Reviews". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  6. "'The Pick-Up Artist' (PG-13)". 1987-09-18. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  7. "Weekend Box Office - Los Angeles Times". 1991-01-08. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
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