Friday, December 3, 2010

Film Yap: Flipped

Sentimentality is not a bad thing. The canon of Frank Capra is full of rich characters and stories that are so earnest they can even warm the heart of mean Mr. Potter. People love those films because of how warm and respectful they are without ever treating you like an idiot. This must be stated because Flipped does not get a pass just because it wants to be sweet.

Flipped continues the line of bad Rob Reiner films but this one is especially odd because it feels like he’s ripping off his own films. This movie’s portrayal of younger kids is nowhere as natural as Stand By Me. Its look at the battle of the genders and their different perspectives pale in comparison to When Harry Met Sally….

Flipped is based off the novel by Wendelin Van Draanen. Oddly that book is not set in the 1960s but apparently Reiner felt he could pull that off. It’s not like there’s any insanely popular AMC show that is noted for being meticulously accurate and would serve as a damning comparison. I digress. Madeline Carroll (LOST, CafĂ©) plays young Juli Baker who instantly falls in love with Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe)when he moves in across the street. But—uh oh!—he doesn’t like her! Wakka wakka.

The rest of the film is this insanely contrived and pestering “will they or won’t they”? The two have no chemistry and Bryce is in the running for the dullest protagonist this side of Doug Funnie. He truly is empty upstairs; I know this because he narrates half the film with the most asinine comments imaginable. Yes, Bryce, what IS up with Juli Baker?

It’s usually pretty easy to figure out what is up with Juli Baker. There is no subtext in this film. Everything is right on the surface and often just bluntly said aloud. Too bad the movie thinks we’re stupid and repeats every single scene from Juli’s point of view and narration. It’s more like Vantage Point over Rashomon because there is no new information when they flip sides. (GET IT?)

Every embarrassing sequence must be endured twice like some sick hellish punishment. The worst offense is this messed up auction. Apparently their middle school randomly selects 6th grade boys without their permission to be auctioned off for dates. Then the girls buy them—up to $50. Why do these 10 year olds have $50 in 1963? Weren’t then also the same kids who were teasing them for being romantically interested in each other? What the hell is going on here? No, don’t show it twice!

Every character is written horribly especially Bryce’s abusive father (Anthony Edwards) who seems to be really well versed in salmonella for the 60s. Also the movie has a scene with Juli’s mentally challenged uncle (poor Kevin Weisman) that continues the consistency of being insanely incompetent and a horrible attempt of characterization. Thank God Bryce wasn’t there.

The extras are as equally terrible. The Blu-Ray only has four tiny featurettes, all dumb. Of course I would love to watch 5 minutes about chickens? How did they make that lame looking volcano? (The weirdest thing is that Callan McAuliffe has way more charisma during this small bit than the entire film. Where was this performance?) The only shining light is Madeline Carroll questioning why she had to sniff Bryce’s head during a scene. Excellent question.

Film: 1 Yap

Extras: 1 Yap

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