Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekend Movie Mini-Review


I'm a big fan of Wendelin Van Draanen's novel of the same name about Juli Baker and Bryce Loski and the mixed up ties that bind.  I was excited about the film coming from Rob Reiner, who, though he hasn't been on much of a roll lately, certainly has the history and the ability to pull out of a good piece of work.  Unfortunately, this little movie came and went with very little, if any, fanfare, and made less than two million in the theatres.  It never even opened in my area.  Fortunately, it has a second life on DVD, and hopefully families and fans of Van Draanen will give it a chance.  I was generally impressed by the film, expecting to find some elements softened to make it more "family friendly".  I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong.  Reiner doesn't pull punches, doesn't try to make it a G movie with rainbows and sunshine (I was surprised, because of the language, that it got away with a PG).  Bryce's dad is just as unsympathetic as he appears in the book, though it's frustrating to wait for Bryce to come to the same conclusion.  There are nice performances as well, especially from the leading pair of Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe, who capture adolescence in all its uncertain glory.  It can be a bit sweet, and at times borders dangerously close to twee, but in all, I'd call it a successful adaptation and a generally enjoyable film.

Here's the trailer, though it doesn't do the film justice:

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