1 item from 2005
PARK CITY -- Family man Kevin Bacon goes behind the camera to explore a mother's obsessive love for her son in "Loverboy", a film starring his wife Kyra Sedgwick and featuring his daughter Sosie Bacon. It may take a parent to really appreciate what attracted him to such one-dimensional material. Good performances and a keen eye for period detail can't disguise the fact that not much is happening here story-wise. Beyond fans of the Bacon clan, pic is unlikely to generate much boxoffice sizzle.
Adapted from Victoria Redel's novel by Hannah Shakespeare, "Loverboy" may have been better suited to the page where it could have the subtlety and resonance missing on screen. As a film it works on only one level--crazy love.
As we see in flashbacks to her neglectful childhood with her lovebird parents (Bacon and Marisa Tomei), Emily Stoll (Kyra Sedgwick) is damaged goods. Her parents became a model for her of the limitations of exclusivity, so when she reaches adulthood, all she wants in life is to be a single parent totally devoted to raising her child. She reasons that by sleeping with a succession of men chosen for various qualities, her child will have no father, which is fine with her.
After years of moving around the country and trying to become pregnant, she finally conceives after a one-night stand with a conventioneer played charmingly by Campbell Scott. For some reason, insufficiently explained, she could never bear to have just an ordinary child, so she showers her son Dominic Scott Kay) with every attention and advantage. For a while it works: they have a great time camping out in the backyard, splashing purple paint on the walls of his room and talking to sheep. But by the time Loverboy, as she calls him, is six, cracks start to appear. He wants to have friends, go to school, have a normal life. Emily wants him all to herself.
And that's pretty much the entire set up for the ninety minutes of the film. Although they move from Yonkers to Cape Cod, the story has nowhere to go. Stuff happens--neighbors meddle, teachers get in the way--but the film doesn't get deeper or richer. Even the flashbacks to Emily at 12 (Sosie Bacon), where she visits her idealized mother in the neighborhood (an uncredited Sandra Bullock), fail to explain why she has a psychological need to totally control her son. Every mother has separation anxiety but this goes way beyond that.
Sometimes it's unclear what tone Bacon is shooting for. Things like sex in a library are too over the top to be realistic yet too serious to play for laughs. Although there's plenty of humor, the ending qualifies the film as a tragedy, despite the attempt to put a happy face on it. And Bacon doesn't seem to want to get into the implications of a mother kissing her son on the lips and calling him "Loverboy".
So, as far as it goes, the film is entertaining, thanks largely to Kay's natural likability. He belongs to the new generation of child actors who can actually create a character. Segdwick's great accomplishment is making Emily sympathetic even in the face of monstrous behavior. Tech credits are excellent for a limited budget, especially Nancy Schreiber's sensitive lensing and a lovely score by Kevin's brother Michael.
Bacon clearly has the ability to work well with actors and he's called in favors from friends like Matt Dillon, Oliver Platt, Bullock and Scott, who show up in small roles. But perhaps as a young director (he did one other film, "Losing Chase", in 1996) he held back on the story and stayed with something familiar. Hopefully, next time he will chose fuller material that allows him to spread his talent.
A Mixed Breed Films, Daniel Bigel/Michael Mailer production
Director: Kevin Bacon
Writer: Hannah Shakespeare
Director of photography: Nancy Schreiber
Production designer: Chris Shriver
Music: Michael Bacon
Costume designer: John Dunn
Editor: David Ray.
Emily Stoll: Kyra Sedgwick
Paul Stoll (age 6): Dominic Scott Kay
Marty Stoll: Kevin Bacon
Sybil Stoll: Marisa Tomei
Mark: Matt Dillon
Paul's father: Campbell Scott
Jeanette Rawley: Blair Brown
Emily (age 10): Sosie Bacon
Mr. Pomeroy: Oliver Platt
Mrs. Harker: (uncredited) Sandra Bullock.
No MPAA rating
Running time -- 87 minutes »
1 item from 2005
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