Teen sex is
big business and teen angst is small business. Why not? It doesn't
take much skill to hire a couple of hot-looking 20-somethings to
pose as teens and take off their clothes. Add in a few gags about
ejaculating and you've got a hit because the average moviegoer is
a) in high school, b) should still be in high school or c) masturbates
while thinking about someone in high school. Most Hollywood executives
were probably popular in high school, or still wish they had been.
All of their social skills and decision-making skills were developed
misery appealing is a hell of a lot harder to do, so Hollywood leaves
it to the whiny arthouse crowd. Give it to the coffee house folks
who wear their adolescent unpopularity like a badge of honor. "Look
how great being lame in high school paid off... Now I'm cool. I
like Lattes, read Proust and have a laptop computer. Oh, and a tiny
cellphone that plays Beethoven!"
is the sort of teen angst crap that gets labeled "coming of
age" to give us a goopy nostalgia feeling that we can tap into.
Yeah, we all remember that first time we wanted to fuck our stepmoms.
Wasn't that a good time? The teen angst here is a crock of shit,
phony and dull; so cerebral to be detached from anything real. It's
not angst so much as a mental circle jerk of writers and a director
who think they're more clever than they appear to me. They can't
resist showing everyone how cool they are now by planting relevant
quotes from a dead French philosopher on the screen every five minutes
of their movie. Well, yeah, but putting it up on the screen isn't
nearly as impresive as actually understanding it.
plays Oscar Grubman, a fifteen-year-old prodigy, or so we're led
to believe because he reads Voltaire and speaks French. He's supposed
to be a 40-year old trapped in a fifteen-year-old body, but that's
just horseshit. He's 40 years worth of reading fancy books, but
not living. If the kid lived maybe this would have been an interesting
this isn't the kind of movie where a kid like this gets his teeth
kicked in and then run over by kids on motocross bikes. It's the
kind where all the people on New York's rich-ass Upper Eastside
adore him. The girls are straining juice through their panties and
the adults stop admiring their vacations in Portugal long enough
to talk about how special he is. Oh, a kid who reads Voltaire! How
fucking cute. And he is passive and whiny! Oh, if only his bedroom
walls could talk.
from his snooty boarding school to his sappy historian dad (John
Ritter) and stepmom (Sigourney Weaver) for Thanksgiving. He thinks
he's in love with Weaver. Before he can tell her, though, he gets
drunk and is seduced by her best friend, the pasty, creepy Bebe
Neuwirth. Afterward, Stanford worries that Weaver will find out,
forever ruining his chance at love.
is filled with more phony moments than a family reunion. It wants
to be a smart, controversial farce, but the gags are just the same
old "Three's Company" double entendres and mistaken identities,
only dressed up all fancy with Voltaire quotes. There are so many
scenes and moments that feel more like the writers said "wouldn't
it be funny if" rather than reveal the characters. As a result,
the whole thing is smug and inconsistent, like a collection of bon
mots from a New Yorker daily calendar shoved into actors'
mouths. It's the kind of shit where assholes laugh because they
think they're smart, not because it's funny.
It wants credit
for being naughty and controversial without actually tackling any
issues. Just bringing up a boy wanting to screw his stepmom is no
more daring than half the Brady Bunch fan fiction I've read.
And it's nowhere near as shocking unless a sheepdog and a butcher
are licking someone's ass. Besides, while the fan fiction brings
up some big moral questions--such as is it wrong for Cindy to spy
and be a tattle tale, even though she saw Greg humping Jan on Dad's
drafting table--the movie shies away from them. It uses the naughtiness
as a backdrop for the lame gags and then just fades away at the
end, unresolved and unsatisfying. To do more would mean actually
getting deeper than simply being able to quote Voltaire.
aren't people: they're vehicles driven from point A to B by the
writers. Whatever makes the script easiest is how they act, and
we don't get to know or care about anyone. Ritter's father character
is conveniently stupid. He's a professor at Columbia, yet so stupid
he believes whatever his son tells him. Stanford is supposed to
be a genius, yet he glues on fake sideburns in one scene, and is
an old pro at ordering cocktails but too stupid to spot a come on
from a pretty girl. Weaver is barely there, sleepwalking through
the movie as a big nothing. The kid might as well have been in love
with a bath mat for all the personality Weaver has. The movie's
not about her, but it would be nice to know what makes the kid love
The story should
be about a smart kid looking at the mess he's put himself into.
Instead, it's just a series of "wacky" incidents revolving
around Stanford trying to keep Neuwirth from bragging that she fucked
Weaver's stepson. What kind of lunatic would blurt out that she
just statutorily raped a confused kid? And what's so fucking funny
about that? As free-wheeling as Neuwirth's character is supposed
to be, she isn't insane. And all the antics don't get us any closer
to the problem. Why have near-incest in your movie if you're just
going to puss out of talking about it?
The movie looks
like crap. It was shot cheaply on digital, then processed to look
like film. It's grainy, smudged and the scenes have no depth. The
picture has no distinctive look or feel. It's just another whiny
story about rich New Yorkers who think they're smarter than they
really are. I'd rather read about Sam and Alice. Two Fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?