24 March 2009 | vchimpanzee
Cute, informative, formula
In a small Connecticut town, Jessica lives with her mother and her sister Holly who is three years younger. She has known since age 5 that she wanted to be not just a doctor, but an orthopedic surgeon. She gets into Harvard.
Her boyfriend Max also wants to go Harvard, but he gets "deferred." That means he might get in, or he might not.
Jessica's parents are divorced and they still fight. Jessica's father is getting married and the fiancée wants to have a relationship with her new husband's kids. The kids don't like the idea. Max's parents have had their problems, but they have worked through them and are still together.
Jessica and Max love each other so much. Max sneaks into her room at night and leaves early. Both appear to be naked when they wake up. Holly knows something was going on.
When Max finds out he didn't get into Harvard, he and Jessica fear that once they start college, their relationship won't survive unless they get married and move in together. This means no college for Max to start with, even though he got into some schools hundreds of miles from Harvard. Jessica points out that her parents got married very young (but look what happened). Naturally, both kids' parents oppose the idea. But eventually Jessica's mother and Max's father give their consent. This is required since Jessica is still 17, even though Max is 18.
Jessica and Max move to Cambridge together. Jessica starts college, and it turns out to be quite a challenge, but she seems to adapt well. Except for keeping her relationship with Max going. After she makes friends with Sophie and Carter, Max seems less of a priority, and Jessica is always tired. Max has his own world as he starts work and finds a possible career to pursue once he gets into college.
The teens were right. Jessica and Carter become more than just friends, and if she had still been trying to keep her relationship with Max going from a distance, they might not have stayed together. In fact, even being in the same apartment might not be enough. If they can stay in the apartment together, that is. Did they make a mistake? Will this marriage end?
Of course it's a formula movie. And of course the teens' problems are somewhat exaggerated: I think the whole purpose of this movie is to make the point teens shouldn't get married. Or at least it raises the issues of what sorts of things teens should know about each other first.
Nina Dobrev does a good job here. Her character is intelligent and somewhat perky, but she's certainly not a bimbo. Anna Hopkins is quite good as the intelligent but edgy best friend. It's like she said: if you got into Harvard, you must be smart already.
Amanda Tilson is also good as the somewhat bratty little sister. I never did find out Jessica's mother's name, so I'm guessing she's Polly Draper from her positioning in the credits. She is very good.
I suppose my biggest complaint is all the "One Tree Hill" music. Although it IS a romantic movie for college-age kids, mostly girls. So what else would you expect? But there is music for people like me too. Max's parents have a romantic moment with traditional jazz, and Carter plays acoustic guitar. His style, at least the one time we hear him, is Latin-flavored easy listening, which I found surprising and pleasant. It wasn't the folk style that often has a message if there are lyrics, and it wasn't rock either.
Is this appropriate for kids? It isn't intended for them. Certainly Jessica and Max didn't wait until marriage, and while it's not obvious what they were doing, it is assumed. After they get married, it's okay ... but then I've already suggested there isn't much of that anyway.
It's a pleasant enough movie.