Review Date:
Director: Gary Winick
Writer: Heather McGowan, Niels Mueller
Producers: Gary Winick, Alexis Alexanian, Dolly Hall
Aaron Stanford
Sigourney Weaver
Bebe Neuwirth
A 15-year old boy who likes to read Voltaire and speak French about town is in love with his stepmom and doesn’t know quite how to tell her. Ignoring the presence of his dad, the boy gets drunk one evening and nails his stepmom’s best friend. Tough life, eh? An indie production ensues…
A good indie flick with quite the potential, this movie was fun to watch but ultimately left me with the same thoughts as one of the characters at the end of the picture who said, “It wasn’t as important as I thought it was.” Having been heralded at the Sundance Film Festival (and eventually picked up by Miramax for a rumored whopping $6 million), this 75-minute ditty is a unique and interesting experience, but the hype surrounding the film is much grander than its actual content, which isn’t particularly groundbreaking or deep. It basically takes all of the best ingredients from Woody Allen’s flicks (sans the extreme neuroses), dabs it in some GRADUATE batter, as well as some early David O. Russell, and showcases it all via a digital video camera, making it all feel a little more “real”. The acting is solid by all involved, especially newcomer Aaron Stanford, who really gives you the sense of a 40 year old soul trapped in the body of a 15 year old (he’s actually 25 in real life), as well as the two leading ladies, Weaver and Neuwirth, both of whom showcase their acting studs throughout. One specific scene featuring all three actors, along with Jack Tripper at a restaurant, is particularly successful, with everyone clicking just right and making the best of a sticky situation.

If you’re afraid to try this dish because of its popularity around the “art house” circuit, worry not because it’s really not as pretentious as you might think it is. In fact, it’s actually quite accessible and light, with few “artsy” moments spread around its gorgeously shot New York scenery. The film does definitely overplay the “insert title cards” though, most of which just end up being showy and annoying as the picture tags along. It’s also pretty obviously shot on a small budget ($150,000), without the best editing in the world, and a capable, but not necessarily overwhelming soundtrack. But with shitty Hollywood flicks coming out every other week, it’s nice to know that some independent movies are also enjoying some time in the sun. So if you’re like me, and enjoy watching atypical films alongside your steady diet of the more “standard” fare, you should definitely seek this movie out, especially if you don’t have an issue with an older woman seducing a teenage boy, or that very same boy wanting to nail his stepmom (yay!). It’s definitely not for everyone, but it does deliver enough laughs, originality and realism, to make up for its slightly uninspired conclusion, short runtime and tiny pretentious bits (Eh oui, ils parlent en Francais, bien sur!).

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian




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