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STUDIO: Warner Brothers
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
The Differences Between a Boy and a Girl: The he said/she said lowdown between stars Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe
Embarrassing Egg-scuses: Madeline teaches raising chickens and hatching the perfect egg
How to Make the Best Volcano
Flipped: Anatomy of a Near Kiss
Two young kids want to make out through the years.
Madeline Carroll, Callan McAuliffe, Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards and Aidan Quinn
Rob Reiner had a modicum of talent at one point in his career.
Flipped is a very poorly made movie. Rob Reiner took a novel from 2001 and tried to make it similar to his past work on Stand by Me. The original source material is taken out of context, while Reiner attempts to play structure beyond his means. Alternating perspective doesn’t work when you’re dealing with unreliable child narrators in such a short movie. It kills all forward momentum, as you can’t setup your cast or environment without worrying about trusting the narrator.
Juli and Bryce meet at the age of 7. Juli is head over heels infatuated with Bryce, but Bryce thinks girls are full of Cooties or Feline AIDS. The years march on, as the duo grows closer together when they hit the ripe ol’ age of 13. Bryce’s dad looks down on Juli’s family, since her dad is an artist that takes care of his retarded brother. Since Bryce’s dad is Anthony Edwards, I don’t see how he can complain. You’re a long away from Cook County, Edwards.
This enters into my big beef with the film. Reiner wants to show why the Bakers and Bryce’s family doesn’t get along. But, you don’t have time to setup conflict, if you’re letting two kids dictate storyflow. Then, there’s the element that makes Robert McKee shit himself with rage. Flipped is a film nearly constructed out of voice-over. Unless you’re Sam Spade or Travis Bickle, voice-over remains outside of your realm of ability. Very few characters can survive telling a story in voice-over alone.
Madeline Carroll and John Mahoney are the saving graces of this film. Their few scenes together almost gives you a look at what could’ve been had Reiner had a fucking clue in the world. Carroll is a cute young actress who is able to play youthful, while bringing maturity to a teen role. This kind of actress is a rare treasure and we need to encourage growth like this in similar actresses. In her scenes with her family and with Bryce, you see a capable lead working against actors that don’t get the material.
That being said, it’s a bitch to get the material when the director fumbles the entire project. Rob Reiner couldn’t get Warner Brothers to get behind the project and it ended up dying a short death in limited release. Hopefully, Reiner will take the hint and approach his next project with more caution. I’m not that hopeful, since WB isn’t above hiring his ass to do a Bucket List prequel or something worse. It’s kind of funny to think that at one point, everyone thought North was going to be the worst film of his career.
Did any of you see Stolen Summer? That was the Project: Greenlight movie that got developed in a similar vein using quite a similar background. That film had the good sense to not overwhelm the film with a splintered structure that allows for two weak storylines to develop instead of trying to improve the mediocre central piece. That’s the bitch of the situation and it has remained in the back of my brain during my viewing of this film. Why doesn’t this film work?
Well, it’s nostalgia pablum designed to make the middlin’ crowd think of better times and films. Nostalgia works in the cinema as a smaller element and not a set piece. It’s a wasted concept that plays on unreliable memory to inform fiction that can’t stand on its own. Shame on Reiner for relying on this kind of bullshit. You did This is Spinal Tap, man. You are better than this.
Flipped is a director’s weird attempt at taking modern material and trying to filter it through the baby-boomer filter. It fails for those that remain outside of the Redbox crowd. Watch this shit and realize something important about yourself. Realize that no one will give a shit about your childhood, the past or your precious memories in the future. Nothing’s sadder than old people trying to wax poetic about shit that remains better in the cobwebs of your mind.
The Blu-Ray arrives with a couple of featurettes, digital copy and a bonus DVD copy. The featurettes show you how to make a volcano for your science fair. There’s even EPK bits about proper chicken maintenance and shooting a first kiss. Did Rob Reiner even attempt a contemporary? Hell no. That guy’s too busy trying to get the smell of Penny Marshall off of his moustache. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track supports the film well enough, but the cinematography choices make the transfer look like shit at points. Actually, I have to take that back. Shit smeared on a camera lens is more accurate. I can’t recommend this for anything more than a rental.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars