Top critical review
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Saved by Gena Rowlands
on July 13, 2004
This is a fairly common story of a troubled teen coming of age. The problem is, there isn't much for him to come to age to, as there's nothing terribly new or original. In other words, it's a dreaded "retread".
The plotline was weak, and Charlie's (Kevin Zegers) travails with the "bad boys" in the beginning, which were supposed to introduce us to his harsher personality, were silly and unbelievable. Regarding these "bad boys", they looked more like the geeks they were teasing. I wouldn't have been intimidated by any of them in high school, even if I was a Freshman and they were Seniors.
Gena Rowlands saved this film from obscurity, as did Kevin Zegers, though to a lesser extent. He's clearly trying to add depth to his acting career, and that's terrific. There's still some room for him to grow. Gena Rowlands is *always* terrific. Her warmth infected and graced the entire film.
For all it's failings, it was still an emotionally evocative film at times, with one profoundly moving event at the end of the film. And Charlie did experience growth, which helped him put his family back together.
However, that's the biggest problem I had with the film. Without giving anything away, Charlie wasn't the person that needed to put that family back together (regardless of the silly contrivance that was written in to make it seem as such). It was the mother and the father, because both are pretty horrible people on the inside, but all we see is a father played as a typical jerk, and mother played as a typical drunk. Again, nothing fresh or original about their characters.