15 October 2002 | mweston
3 stars (out of 4)
Oscar Grubman (newcomer Aaron Stanford, who is really about 25 years old) is a precocious high school sophomore. *Really* precocious. He regularly speaks French in his normal life, and seems to always be reading Voltaire (the one liners seen throughout the film as inter-titles are apparently Voltaire quotes).
The film happens over a long Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. We first see Oscar on the train on his way home, briefly talking to a pretty classmate who seems interested in him. After she leaves, Oscar's friend Charlie (Robert Iler from "The Sopranos"), who may be the sanest character in the film, asks Oscar about her, and Oscar dismisses her by saying that her hands are those of a baby. Apparently he appreciates hands that show more character.
We soon learn that the hands he really likes belong to Eve (Sigourney Weaver). She's a medical researcher, whose marriage to Oscar's father, Stanley (John Ritter), makes her Oscar's stepmother. Oscar does not seem deterred by this little obstacle. I can see his point, as I am also a huge fan of Weaver's (even going so far as to see "Heartbreakers"), but the age difference is pretty extreme, not to mention that little almost incest issue.
Diane (Bebe Neuwirth from "Cheers"), is a chiropractor who is Eve's best friend. *You might want to skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't know much about the film already.* Oscar runs into Diane late at night after drinking too much, and when he smells Eve's perfume on a scarf Diane borrowed, Oscar "accidentally" ends up sleeping with her. This scenario is of course reminiscent of "The Graduate," although Oscar's age causes some to question whether this is comedy or statutory rape. I vote for the former, and in fact Oscar's inexplicable ability to easily be served alcohol in a neighborhood bar bothered me more.
Much comedy ensues. In fact, it occurred to me later that low budget independent films are rarely comedies, and even more rarely this well done. The writing was was only adequate to good, but the performances were very good, especially from Bebe Neuwirth. And some of the wordless reaction shots are priceless.
The film was shot on digital video and transferred to film for distribution to most theaters. I have read complaints about the quality, but it seemed tolerable to me, except perhaps in the opening shots from the train. What matters is that it is not distracting.
I enjoyed this film quite a bit. It isn't life altering in the slightest, but it isn't trying to be. It's definitely worth checking out.
Seen on 8/31/2002.