Movie Review - Just One of the Guys (1985)

by Emily


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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089393/

Country: United States

Language: English

Type of story: FtM Crossdressing

Is the protagonist Transgender? No.

Sexuality: Doesn’t change

Nudity: Yes (one quick flash).

How I watched it: Tubi for free. (Watch Here)

When I last watched it: November 9, 2023


Up until now I’ve been focusing on supernatural MtF transformations.  By popular request we’re going to change it up and go for a FtM Crossdressing movie.  


It’s hard to not compare this to She’s the Man (2006) as that is pretty-much a beat-for-beat retelling of this story, but a closer retelling of Shakespear’s Twelfth Night than this one is. These two movies share the same tropes, twenty years apart.


My synopsis (spoiler-free):


Aspiring journalist Terri (Joyce Hyser) wants to win a summer internship contract that will land her a spot at the Sun Tribune, but apparently her teacher doesn’t think she’s good enough. So far only boys have been getting submitted to the contest. Since she’s surrounded by chauvinist pigs in her teachers, boyfriend, and brother, she assumes the problem is the good ole boys club.  So she concocts a plan to submit her story as a boy. This plan involves her crossdressing and attending a different school as “Terry.” Hijinks ensue as Terri must dodge gym class, bullies, her boyfriend, and smitten girls.


* * Spoilers ahead * *


After submitting her article as Terry, the new teacher gives her brutal advice - her writing isn’t good enough.  I guess the original teacher wasn’t being discriminatory after all? Terri needs a better article, so she decides to continue with the charade. During her time as Terry, she meets a loner guy named Rick (Clayton Rohner) and tries to set him up with a prom date.  Predictably, when she’s successful, she realizes she’s fallen for Rick.


The transformation: Typically I talk about the gender transformation, but since this is a crossdressing story, it’s only about how Terri passes.  At first, she tricks her brother Buddy (Billy Jacoby), by donning a hat and his clothes. She asks for his advice, then is enrolled the next day at a new school. She cuts her hair and is wearing boy’s clothes. Where she gets that cool-kid wardrobe I don't know, since her brother doesn’t dress like that. How well does Terri pass? This is only really important in the suspension of disbelief. She passes well. She has a Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid thing going on. What’s interesting is that Terri appears to not be wearing a binder in the climax of the movie.  And she’s pretty well-endowed. So her male clothing must be baggy enough to accommodate that.  She is always seen wearing blazers or jackets.


Does this Movie pass the Bechdel Test? No, but it’s the 80’s and the plot is about a woman pretending to be a man, so I wouldn’t expect it to. When Terri as herself is talking to her one female friend, Denise (Toni Hudson), it’s always about dating. She might complain about her essay getting rejected once, though. When she is talking to other females as Terry, it’s always in the context of dating.


Gender and Sexuality: Terri has one goal in mind.  Get that summer internship. Her time spent as a guy didn’t have any impact on her gender identity.  It also had no impact on her sexuality as she turned down Sandy’s (Sherilyn Fenn) advances. Thus in the end, Terry easily goes back to being Terri.


How it ends: So Rick is going to prom with someone else. Terry is going to prom with Terri’s best friend, Denise. The school bully, Greg, punches Rick and Terry defends him. Greg throws Terry into the ocean. Then Terri’s boyfriend, Kevin, shows up looking for her. Terri confesses her deceit and affections to Rick. The whole time Rick thought Terry was gay, not that Terry was actually a girl. Kevin dumps Terri. Everyone is embarrassed.  Yay, prom!  Terri writes an essay that lands her that internship she wanted.  Rick shows up, having read her story, ready to date her.


Random Notes:  

  • Because the movie was going to be about a FtM, the filmmakers needed to make sure to get all of the sexy scenes out of the way in the beginning. Terri is seen walking around in just panties and a very skimpy bikini. Then of course the boob shot at the prom.

  • The movie starts with Terri in her journalism class.  There are a lot of girls in this class. Yet only Terri complains about sexism. I mean, I believe her, but this movie tries to defend the journalism industry by suggesting women write fluff pieces. Once Terri writes about her experience undercover, she is finally accepted.

  • Speaking of Karate Kid, is that Johnny (William Zabka)? It IS Johnny! Greg is of course the bully of the school. He sets his eyes on Daniel Terry when Terry starts getting friendly with Johnny’s Greg’s girlfriend Ali Deborah (Deborah Goodrich).  Wait... Sandy actually called Terry “a fox” and said he looks like the Karate Kid!  If that movie exists in this universe, has anyone told Greg he looks like Johnny?

  • Can I count the tropes that this movie either creates or perpetuates for the next 20 years?

    • The annoying, sex-driven little brother.

    • School nerd, Reptile (Stuart Charno).

    • Terri as Terry tries setting up Rick, but instead falls for him. 

    • Girl pretending to be a guy having to dodge all situations where her body might be revealed.

    • After a transformative montage, the bully spills food or drink on them.

    • Terri proves she’s a girl, by flashing Rick.

    • The main character writes a moving story that confesses they made a mistake and fell in love. Love interest forgives them for their deception, wanting to date them now.

    • Many of those have roots in Shakespeare.  The bard knew how to write modern teen dramas!

  • Terry befriends Rick.  Rick invites her up and offers her a beer. These are 17-year-old kids, right?

  • While Terry is trying to get Rick a prom date, Sandy asks them out on a double date. What she didn’t tell them is that Sandy’s cousin is a 6th grader!

  • Sandy jumps Terry’s bones and finds… a rolled up sock in her pants!

  • Terri’s boyfriend, Kevin, is a jerk.  He belittles her and when he comes over, tells her he hates her now-short hair.

  • Terry takes Rick out for a shopping trip… but there’s no montage.  Bummer.

  • Greg starts out to humiliate Rick.  Instead Rick humiliates Greg even worse. Johnny and Ally fight - I mean Greg and Deborah fight.  Then Rick asks Deborah out.  And - a surprise to nobody watching this movie years later - Terri gets jealous.


Overall impression: It certainly looks and feels like an 80’s movie.  Aside from that, it still holds up. But it’s pretty shallow and doesn’t make any grand statements about gender, sexuality, and the stereotypes thereof, because of the time period it was made.  It was intended to be a comedy and get a few laughs.


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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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marter

I remember watching this year's ago on cable. I forgot Johnny was in it. Lol. Drinking ages used to be different depending on your state, but you see this happen in modern movies too with a bunch of teens drinking.
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Emily

I thought most of the drinking ages changed to 21 in the late 70s. But I don't know. I was only 5 when this movie came out.
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marter

I wasn't born for another two years myself. I think some were still changing until a federal law forced them all too
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