The difference between
smug caollege pricks and and ten-year-old boys is that the kids
are a hell of a lot more fun to hang out. And the crap they
like is way more accessible to a dumbass like me. Shit like
remote control fart machines, lots of candy, boobies without
knowing what to do with them, gross stuff and whole Saturdays
stretched out in front of you with nearly nothing to do.
How to Eat Fried
Worms is based on the book of the same name. By the way,
it's a pretty fucking great kids book. Like it, the movie adaptation
gets it just right when showing how young boys act. It's a genuinely
rare movie that tries to entertain kids without giving a rat's
ass about the parents or whether the people making it will look
cool. That's no small feat for the self-absorbed Hollywood grassfuckers.
Usually they make movie kids too smart and precocious, or some
idealized carbon copy of the way they've seen kids act in other
movies. Worms, though, has kids behave like kids. Well,
maybe not the story's only girl (Hallie Kate Eisenberg). She's
a bit stiff and I find it hard to believe that these boys want
her around. They are, after all, pure prepubescent maleness.
They crack up at the word "sphincter", they ride around on bikes,
dance like dorks and believe someone's ring has the power to
Luke Benward is the
new kid in town who dreads having to make new friends at a new
school. Before his first day is out he finds himself in a bet
with the school bully (Adam Hicks) to eat ten worms, prepared
by Hicks' minions. From that point, the story is a nearly-chaotic
story wild boys running amok, trying to find different, disgusting
ways to cook nightcrawlers while not getting busted by their
parents or their hard-ass principal (James Rebhorn). In the
process of eating his worms, Benward wins the respect of his
classmates, which is what he wanted all along. Believe me, winning
the respect of ten-year-olds is pretty fucking hard to do. It
doesn't matter how big a splash your cannonballs make, or how
much faster you can ride than them; you always hear them laughing
behind your back.
Always. I can hear
them right now.
Dolman gets his band of boys to act like they normally would.
That's amazing. They are dorky and oblivious, both in the story
and in real life. He never stuffs their mouths with poignancy
or horseshit that sounds more adult than kid. Really, when was
the last time you heard an adolescent say something worthwhile?
Dolman also doesn't try to make the story something it's not.
Sure, there's some message crap in there about peer pressure
and being true to yourself, blah blah balh. But that's buried
way below the sheer joy the kids have frying worms, dipping
them in marshmallow and ketchup, dousing them in hot sauce,
microwaving them and mixing them into omelets.
How to Eat Fried
Worms is a godsend, really, to anyone who is ten or just
wishes they were. Far as I can tell, that's almost everyone
reading this right now. It's a delicious slice of meat sandwiched
between the empty, insipid calories of shit like Barnyard
and Open Season. Those are typical of how little respect
Hollywood has for kids. And they only make Worms look
even better. Four Fingers.