|Index||6 reviews in total|
Good cast -- Linda Hamilton, Eugene Levy, Andy Ducote -- in standard coming-of-age story. Entertaining enough, but strictly by the numbers. Majandra Delfino is the best reason to see this movie -- a strong performance in an otherwise perfectly ordinary movie. Lots of plot contrivances, big set-ups for "clever" lines that get telegraphed hours in advance. The writer apparently thinks putting someone in a weird outfit qualifies them as a genuine eccentric.
I saw this film at a film festival recently under its other title, "The
Secret Life of Girls," and I personally approached the director, Holly
Goldberg Sloan, who was in attendance, and I told her: "As a fellow
writer/director, I would say that that film is a classic." This film was
originally set to be titled "American Pie," but it was changed because that
movie came out that was titled that simply because the main character
violated an apple pie on-screen. This is a much better film than the
naughty, gross-out hit. It is about a 15-year-old named Natalie who suffers
from a weird family: A psyched-out mother (played to psychotic perfection
Linda Hamilton) who grooms movie theater carpeting on her driveway, a
strange little brother who wears a top hat or any alternative and watches
"Family Affair," a burned-out older brother who smokes pot and chucks dirty
magazines at Natalie, and a strange father (Eugene Levy in a hilariously
perfect role) who believes in free love and bad facial hair styles. Natalie
tries to survive this as she grows up in 1970's Oregon. Hilarious
sequence including a not-so-macho seductor. This is beautifully
cinematographed, written, and directed. Watch for some psychadelic
dutch-angle Steadicam shots. You won't want to miss this one. It's at your
local Blockbuster and only there, so GO GET A COPY RIGHT
Sincerely, Mr. Jingles (GreenMile)
This is a vast improvement over the other film I had seen by writer-director Holly Goldberg Sloan. That one was 'The Big Green,' and it was a totally unoriginal cliche-ridden formula picture. A change of scene and subject did wonders for this movie. The focus here is on a teenaged girl growing up in a very eccentric family who has to cope with her parents' breakup right in the middle of her adolescence. Of course, even a movie about an aggressively weird family can be cliched also, but those traps are steered clear of for the most part. Sloan obviously has major empathy with her main character, played by Majandra Delfino, and it translates well to the viewers. Natalie's family is about as odd as the one in 'The Hotel New Hampshire.' When the mother (Linda Hamilton) frantically tells her children, "Everybody act normal," her son (Aeryk Egan) asks incredulously, "Us?" Luckily things are played for laughs in this movie, but it makes it points. This isn't a perfect film but it succeeds where some similar ones have come off as too contrived.
Another tedious, self-indulgent, moaning "how terrible it was to be a teenager in my family" movie. And as if the exaggerated and overbearing characterisations weren't enough, the saintly and put-upon heroine also gets to hammer home her points in voice-overs. The acting talent (which is considerable) really doesn't stand a chance, given the narrow-mindedness of the script (and the writer directed also - so no added perspective there). I'd strongly advise skipping this one... see "Girl" instead - a far superior film covering very similar ground, but possessed of the kind of breadth of vision and generosity of spirit which Unglued so conspicuously lacks.
In "The Secret Life of Girls", Delfino makes a solid center of gravity as a sober, level headed teen who takes a philosophical approach to the dissolution of her parents marriage while trying to cope with the vicissitudes of teen life. A simple little uninspired comedy which borrows summa-dis and summa-dat from every kookie comedy ever made, "...Girls" is a chick flick with the fingerprints of a female auteur all over it. The flick deserves credit for avoiding the hackneyed issues of teen angst while trying to replace them with a softly feminist attitude. An okay little no brainer for the ladies but not one for the guys. (C)
I rented this movie 2 days ago from Blockbuster because I really wanted to see a movie Majandra Delfino has done other than her work on the WB's Roswell. This film wasn't the best I've ever seen but it was pretty good. I recommend this movie for any huge Majandra Delfino fans out there like me! Fans will be looking forward for a scene where her and Kay are in the fountain because during that scene they play a song Majandra Delfino sings called "Superstar"!
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