It’s a pedophile’s dream come true!
While the kids bring some authenticity to their roles, there was something about them that bugged me and it didn’t hit me until midway through—they act way too old for their age! Seriously, it’s like Kevin Smith-lite with their spitfire dialogue, occasional cursing and very adult insight (Gabe actually uses the Arab-Israeli peace talks as a metaphor). It would’ve worked so much better if the narrator was older and telling this story ala The Wonder Years. It just didn’t make sense to have 11 year olds speak so brazenly and make broad generalizations about life and love. If anything, that unnatural maturity turned their youthful innocence in to some uncomfortable sexual tension. (Don’t worry; the most they do is kiss.) It was cute for the first five minutes, but after a while became a tad bit creepy, like I was watching a typical rom-com, but with little kids in place of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. If you can overlook that exaggerated aspect of LITTLE MANHATTAN then you should be able to enjoy its lighthearted message and saccharine story.
Commentary by director Mark Levin and Screenwriter Jennifer Flackett: The two are actually married in real life, which adds an interesting layer to their creating this story of discovering love. Unfortunately, this is isn’t a very entertaining commentary. They don’t have much to say and don’t really show any kind of chemistry, at least on this track.
Deleted Scenes (6:30): Four cut scenes with optional commentary. Nothing that I really felt strongly about one way or another, although it was funny to hear the director say he wanted love god Antonio Banderas for a cameo to give romantic advice to a kid.
From Scout to Screen (6:13): Footage showing the filmmakers scouting locations in Central Park, and then comparing it to how it appears in the final film. If you’ve never seen this kind of thing before, it’s an interesting look at all the hassles of preproduction.
Helmet Interview (2:31): The main character spends a good deal of time on his Razor scooter. Here the filmmakers talk about shooting versions of him in every scene with and without a helmet, in case the studios made a big deal about safety. This is already covered in the deleted scenes. Also, helmets are for sissies.
Sheep Meadow Segment (4:08): The writer and director talk about why they put sheep in the movie. I don’t really care.
Note: If you see any strange old men renting this movie, call the FBI.