Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2002. Miramax, InDigEnt, Dolly Hall Productions, IFC Productions. Story by Heather McGowan, Niels Mueller, Gary Winick, Screenplay by Heather McGowan, Niels Mueller. Cinematography by Hubert Taczanowski. Produced by Alexis Alexanian, Dolly Hall, Gary Winick. Music by Renaud Pion. Production Design by Anthony Gasparro. Costume Design by Suzanne Schwarzer. Film Editing by Susan Littenberg. National Board of Review Awards 2002.
This shallow little story made in the early stages of digital guerilla filmmaking is about a fifteen year-old Manhattanite (Aaron Stanford) returning from boarding school for Thanksgiving weekend with the intention of finally telling his beautiful stepmother (Sigourney Weaver) that he is in love with her. Weaver herself is completely unaware of these feelings, and he does manage to complicate things somewhat when he begins a sexual affair with her best friend (Bebe Neuwirth). Any possible themes of adolescent awkwardness developing into emotional maturity are all assumed and not explored, with Stanford’s plight being at times funny but never all that important. John Ritter as the protagonist’s father manages the film’s only memorable moments, while a miscast Stanford’s sillier antics are completely out of sync with his supposed ‘mature’ obsessions over the writings and philosophies of Voltaire (whose quotes are illogically used throughout as chapter headings).