ADOLESCENTS (director/writer: Craig Johnson;
Westergaard; editor: Jennifer Lee;
music: Peter Golub;
cast: (Sam Bryant), Bret Loehr (Oliver Mitchell), Carr
Thompson (Jake), Linas Phillips (Slater), Davie-Blue
(Jericha), Laura Kai Chen (Amy), (Sharon Mitchell);
Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Thomas Woodrow; Flatiron Film;
"First-time director Craig Johnson hits the ball out of the park in this perceptive slacker-humored but bleak coming-of-age story."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
First-time director Craig Johnson hits the ball out of the park in this perceptive slacker-humored but bleak coming-of-age story about an immature 34-year-old indie fringe rocker hitting rock bottom before he comes to grips with how far down he's sunk.
Struggling irresponsible Seattle musician Sam (Laura Kai ChenBret Loehrbe the chaperoneCarr Thompson
filmed on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington
and in the forests of the Cascades) the aging smart-ass rocker to act as if he were
one of the adolescents and not their better, as he
takes turns being repulsive, insecure and homophobic.
The film's pivotal
scene has the unaware pitiful Sam tell the fragile
boys a horror story about a rampage on the same beach
where they have pitched their tents for the night.
Then to show he's a complete asshole, Sam dons a
Halloween mask and enters the tent the boys are
sharing to scare them and finds them in an
experimental kiss. The incensed and embarrassed Oliver
turns on Jake, who runs away. When he doesn't return
that night, Oliver and Sam search the woods for Jake
the next day and the inexperienced outdoors-men get
lost. There are physical dangers in the forest, but
the film is more concerned with the resiliency of the
three boys and how this eye-opening experience will be
used to allow them to gain self-knowledge.
The mumblecore school indie
is rich in small details about living in a modern-day
pop culture world, love for slackers and gets assured
performances from its talented cast. The wired
performance by Duplass being realistic, smart and
kick-ass. Even though there are no answers
forthcoming, it feels right it entered such dark turf
and that it asks tough questions of all three male
leads about manhood.
REVIEWED ON 11/2/2011 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ