This perfectly pleasant, if minor, coming-of-age comedy-drama is the second feature released via the Miramax/HBO/Ben Affleck-Matt Damon TV program Project Greenlight
. Series viewers watched Heights
directors Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle struggle to get their vision of screenwriter Erica Beeney's story past an intractable producer. If the process was not pretty, the final result--i.e., this film--has some nice things. Leading the list is rising star Shia LaBeouf (Holes
) as likable, 17-year-old misfit Kelly Ernswiler, coasting through life and fascinated by simulated war games. He befriends a sweet but cynical preppie, Bart Bowland (Elden Hensen), whose sexy older sister, Tabby (Amy Smart), offers Kelly a glimpse of adult passions and heartache. The cast is strong, including Kathleen Quinlan and William Sadler as the Caulfield-esque hero's troubled parents. There are solid moments of comedy and affecting, better-than-average drama. If Heights
fails to ignite, at least it doesn't fail to move. --Tom Keogh
From executive producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and producer Chris Moore, THE BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS is the uniquely funny and touching comedy at the center of HBO's highly entertaining series PROJECT GREENLIGHT. For troubled high school senior Kelly Ernswiler (Shia LaBeouf -- CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, DISNEY'S HOLES), life is war -- or at least an incredible simulation. With all the difficulties in his real life, Kelly has found just one true escape: Losing himself in fantasy reenactments of World War II's epic battles. Then he strikes up an unlikely friendship with fellow reenactor, preppy Bart Bowland (Elden Henson -- DUMB AND DUMBERER), and Kelly's life is set to explode in ways he never expected! Also starring Amy Smart (ROAD TRIP) and Kathleen Quinlan (APOLLO 13) in a winning cast of Hollywood favorites -- here's your chance to enjoy the final cut of the film millions watched come together in the second hit season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT.