It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop. Set against this backdrop, a lonely teenager named Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment, while having a crush on his stepdaughter.
A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane, a good girl who became quite hot over the summer, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revelers begins to drop quite mysteriously.
Friendship, love, and coming of age in New York City, summer of 1994. Luke Shapiro has just graduated from high school, sells marijuana, and trades pot for therapy from a psychologist, Dr. Jeffrey Squires. Luke is attracted to a classmate, Stephanie, who's out of his league and Squires' step-daughter. By July, he's hanging out with Stephanie, taking her on his rounds selling pot out of an ice-cream pushcart. Then things take a turn. In the background, Squires and his wife as well as Luke's parents are having their troubles. Written by
The hat that Ben Kingsley wears was his own. He grabbed it when he set off to New York to film the movie, thinking it might be useful. See more »
As Squires laments on the new New York he quotes Starbucks as an example of the city's Disneyfication. But 1994 was Starbucks' New York debut and they were not yet synonymous with unchecked corporate growth. See more »
A thirty-something's dream summer movie, a bittersweet romantic comedy ironically bleached by the day-glo hip hop soundtrack. It's better than a simple nostalgia montage though. The unlikely friendship of Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) and his psychiatrist (Kingsley) is the buddy movie subplot that might as well be the permissive 60s and its zonked-out, ideologically vacant progeny.
The two men muddle through, but it's the summer romance in summery New York that propels the film. Luke doesn't have any sort of direction until he's gifted the company of Olivia Thirlby's Stephanie, a streetwise but unthinking classmate - with mate being the operative word.
It's a pretty straightforward film. There's plenty of amiable humour and a number of small but well-drawn supporting characters. I felt it missed a trick though. The temperament of the film seems so well-judged, human but halcyon, that I was preparing myself for an enormous twist, a juddering revelation or emotional detonation. Instead Levine chokes and goes for a weak final 15 mins with too much talk and unable to stop the comic wagon on which he's carted the rest of the film along. 7/10
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