For "Starter for 10,"
director Tom Vaughan
took cues from John Hughes
classics like "The Breakfast Club."

New Wave

Brit teen flick aims for '80s - minus the camp


Let's get this out of the way right up front: "Starter for 10" is an '80s movie. But before you start thinking of acid-washed jeans, big hair and a love scene set to the tender stylings of Mr. Mister, hold your Luftballons for a second.

Although it's set in 1985, "Starter for 10" doesn't burn the same fuel that drives radio programs and party planning that try to milk nostalgia by reducing an entire decade to a couple of cheesy cult-ural touchstones, like legwarmers and "Come On Eileen."

Instead, "Starter for 10" aims to be more like a movie that was made in the '80s than a movie recalling the '80s. Big difference.

"I didn't ever, ever want this story to be about hairstyles and big shoulder pads. A movie like 'The Wedding Singer' did that really well. That joke's been done," says Tom Vaughan, who directed the romantic comedy about a working-class Brit - James McAvoy, of "The Last King of Scotland" - who has trouble fitting in at a snobby English university until he joins the quiz-bowl team.

"I felt this story had more about it than simply the '80s setting. I wanted people to watch it and understand that it was a period movie, set 20 years ago, but not constantly thinking, that's so '80s! The writing was more interesting than that."

In preparation, Vaughan studied the work of the master - the man who gave the world Duckie, Farmer Ted and "Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller": John Hughes.

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