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Little Manhattan
DVD disk
Apr 4, 2006 By: Jason Adams
Little Manhattan order
Director:
Mark Levin

Actors:
Josh Hutcherson
Charlie Ray
Bradley Whitford

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Gabe has known Rosemary his entire life, but never really thought of her as anything more than a frienduntil now. But just as the seeds of their romance begin to bloom, Rosemary finds out she has to leave. Can Gabe make his move and let her know how he truly feels before its too late? Oh yeah, Gabe and Rosemary are also 11 years old.

Its a pedophiles dream come true!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
LITTLE MANHATTAN is a cute movie about first love from a childs perspective. If that description raises bile in your throat, then feel free to stop reading this and go chug a beer and belch or something. I cant say that LITTLE MANHATTAN was really even my kind of movie, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. I think most people can relate to that awkward stage when you were just discovering lovethat first time you realize girls might not have cooties after all (only to discover that they probably actually have VD). This movie does a good job portraying those blissful yet uncomfortable feelings, mostly thanks to some imaginative direction (even a nice reference to THE GRADUATE) and its young stars. Both kids are surprisingly not annoying, which made it easier to root for their relationship. Charlie Rays Rosemary was so naturally charming that its hard to believe this is her first movie. Likewise, Josh Hutcherson was solid as Gabe, but his constantly insecure, rhetorical narration got old after a while, maybe because it captured that confused adolescent angst so well.

While the kids bring some authenticity to their roles, there was something about them that bugged me and it didnt hit me until midway throughthey act way too old for their age! Seriously, its 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 wouldve worked so much better if the narrator was older and telling this story ala The Wonder Years. It just didnt 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. (Dont 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.
THE EXTRAS
The movie came with two DVDs, one Widescreen and one Fullscreen version, each with different special features. Seeing as I wasnt going to watch the Fullscreen version, I almost missed the extras on that disc. Its nice that they give you a choice, but this isnt really a movie where the aspect ratio is going to make too much difference.

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 isnt a very entertaining commentary. They dont have much to say and dont 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 youve never seen this kind of thing before, its 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 dont really care.

Also, Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A sweet story that almost everyone has probably experienced at one point in their life. (Im talking about your first love, not romancing 11 year olds!) If you dont find children acting like adults a little weird, then you might like it more than me. As for the DVD, there are a handful of features, but it seems like they were grasping at straws to keep it from being bare bones. Worth a rental if you like kids movies.

Note: If you see any strange old men renting this movie, call the FBI.
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