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Film / For Keeps

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For Keeps is a 1988 Coming of Age comedy/Melodrama directed by John G. Avildsen.

Molly Ringwald and Randall Batinkoff star as Darcy and Stan, a couple in high school and in love. When a weekend together results in sex and Darcy becoming pregnant, they're forced to face the reality of their actions, and have to make tough decisions on how to handle their future. The film was hailed at the time for its realistic depiction of the difficulties of teen pregnancy (such as not shying away from the financial aspects, or of Darcy's postpartum depression), but it has since become an Old Shame for Ringwald, who feels that it glamorized teen pregnancy and in part because of one hell of a Troubled Production.

The film also included the film debut of Pauly Shore as Retro, a friend of Stan's.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Stan loudly bangs on the door outside of Darcy's house begging her to let him in and asking her for forgiveness; in addition, he holds the divorce paper in his hands telling her that he doesn't want to go through the divorce. Because of Stan's disruptive behavior, as well as concern over the next-door neighbors, Darcy's mom calls the police. note 
  • Alpha Bitch: Michaela.
  • Auto Erotica: When Darcy is in the shower with Stan, she lists the SIX places where she and Stan had sex (the first two both took place in a car).
  • Burger Fool: Darcy ends up being one while pregnant to make ends meet. She ends being fired due to her advanced pregnancy leaving her unable to do the job.
  • Carload of Cool Kids: Michaela and her group of friends harass Darcy as she takes out the trash at her job.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Darcy’s mom attributes Darcy’s repulsion of the beef stew to her bad cooking and says to Darcy that “there’s more to life than Big Macs”.
  • Coming of Age Story: Darcy and Stan are forced to grow up fast, perhaps too soon, by the pregnancy and their decision to be parents to their child.
  • Covers Always Lie: As it applies to movie posters as well: In the movie poster, Stan puts his fingers through his hair and shouts "You're what?" at Darcy when he finds out she is pregnant. In the movie though, after Stan gets over the initial shock surrounding the revelation, he gives Darcy a hug and acts supportive.
  • Daddy's Girl: Stan dotes on his and Darcy's little girl.
  • Dirty Old Man: Darcy comes across one working at the Pork Pit (she now works there after getting fired from the other fast-food place, Quickie Nicky's).
    Darcy: (behind the counter) Welcome to the Pork Pit. May I take your order?
    Male Customer: I'll have, uh, two slabs of baby back ribs, and (starts to get flirtatious) an order of cole slaw.
    Darcy:(writes down the order and shouts to the kitchen workers behind) Two cages and a side of slaw.
    Male Customer:(lasciviously) You're a new little piggly-wiggly, aren't you?
    (Darcy's face briefly shows discomfort at the man's sexual advances, but then resorts to acting professional)
    Darcy: Now, you sit down and wait for your number to be called.
    Male Customer: Oh, okay. (he leaves, but continues to stare at her in a creepily romantic way)
  • Disappeared Dad: Played straight for Darcy’s dad. Subverted for Stan’s dad in that initially he wanted nothing to do with his son and his granddaughter, until one day he decides to visit Darcy at her apartment and becomes emotional when he sees his granddaughter for the first time. Averted for Stan, in that he was willing to give up his CalTech scholarship in order to be with Darcy and their daughter.
    Darcy: (to her mom in the car) Did you know Stan got into CalTech? Did you know that? But he didn't go because he loves me. And he cares about me. And he cares about Thea. Stan doesn't just disappear when something bad happens, (pause) like I do.
  • End of an Era: Ringwald's last teen film, her last major theatrical release in which she received top billing, and the movie that terminated her future as a leading girl.
  • Fanservice: Ringwald examines the stretch marks on her stomach early on, wearing only her bra and panties. Also, the shower scene.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Darcy’s water breaks at prom, Stan calms her down by assuring her that it’s going to be all right, since he read the pregnancy book, and that she just needs to take a few deep breaths. Cut then to Darcy's Screaming Birth.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Darcy plans on one, urged on by her single mother, but doesn't go through with it. The prospect raised by Stan's Catholic parents of putting the child up for adoption, is similarly rejected by the couple.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Michaela is jealous of Darcy's relationship with Stan.
  • Large Ham: It's Molly Ringwald. This trope was inevitable.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: It apparently only takes once for the couple.
  • Let's Wait Awhile - Darcy didn’t tell Stan that she was taking the Pill prior to their relationship out of fear that he would perceive her as “cheap and easy” (in other words, promiscuous, since society likes to assume that only "sluts" take the Pill), but Stan counters her fear by reminding her that she made him wait two and a half years for them to have sex.
    Stan: (to Darcy) You made me wait two and a half years! Why would I think you were “easy”?
  • Mama Bear: Darcy notices a looming shadow in her apartment and mistakenly thinks that there is a robber outside on her fire escape. Because of this, she calls the police and picks up Thea assuring her everything will be all right. It’s because of this incident that her post-partum depression is inexplicably cured. It turns out the "robber" outside of her apartment was none other than Stan's dad and she changes her mind on pressing charges on him.
  • Melodrama: Definitely.
  • Morning Sickness: Even though it takes place at night, Darcy experiences this after the mere sight of beef stew in the crock pot. It's that particular incident when Darcy starts to realize that she might be pregnant. See Comically Missing the Point.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mrs. Elliott is overprotective of her daughter and eventually her granddaughter.
  • Oscar Bait: The movie is seen by many as a failed attempt by Ringwald to win more critical respect as an actress. It shows.
  • Prom Baby
  • Screaming Birth: Darcy, of course.
  • Singing in the Shower: Darcy sings the jazz song "Embraceable You" in the shower.
  • Slut-Shaming: Darcy didn’t tell Stan that she had already been taking the Pill prior to their relationship because she didn’t want Stan to perceive her as promiscuous, even though the real reason for taking it was to regulate her periods.
    • Stan’s dad tells her during a Christmas party that she should have learned to keep her legs crossed, and that she was the one who got herself in trouble (as if he was totally unaware of the fact that his own son got Darcy pregnant in the first place).
  • Shower of Love: One of the first things Darcy and Stan do after marrying and buying an apartment together is to share a shower.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Stan plants one on Darcy, as Darcy rambles on about other problems Stan will have to face if he gives up CalTech, like her mother (even though Stan and her mom talked to each other and now get along!).
  • Teen Pregnancy: This kicks off the plot, when Darcy becomes pregnant shortly before graduation.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Mr. Bobrucz, who initially disapproved of Darcy and the pregnancy eventually became more supportive towards the couple and their daughter.
  • Tragic Dropout: On the advice of her guidance counselor, Darcy drops out of high school and then works toward her GED. Meanwhile, Stan gives up a CalTech scholarship because it would separate him from Darcy. It's implied that these choices severely limit their prospects, but the film ends with them both attending a local college with some hope for the future.