"It's not like the movies," grumbles a disillusioned senior as he surveys his high school's sorry excuse for a prom. "There's no theme, no prom king and queen. And no-one will lose their virginity cause there are no virgins left." He has a point: Set in
1983 the heyday of high-school sex comedies this melancholy film from first-time writer-director Tod Williams bears little resemblance to its day-glo, synth-pop forebears. After a brief stint in London with his alcoholic Mom (Margaret Colin), 17-year-old Sebastian Cole (Adrian
Grenier) returns to his drizzly Duchess County, NY, hometown to live with his stepfather Hank (Clark Gregg). But Hank is no longer the man he once was; in fact, he's hardly a "man" at all, having decided to live life as Henrietta, a cut-the-crap brunette in Frye boots and a peasant skirt.
Sebastian re-enrolls in high school and hooks up with his old friends, but he feels he's missing out on the sort of life experiences that produce the kind of writer he'd like to become. As his "adventures" get wilder and increasingly dangerous, Sebastian Cole finds that real life is the stuff that
happens every day. Williams makes the most of a miniscule budget; a box of Wheetabix in the background is all that's needed to show the action's shifted to London. Like WHATEVER and THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN other recent high-school dramas set in the '80s but with a serious sense of purpose
— the film offers wry humor and grit instead of John Hughes-style hijinks and wild comedy; kudos to Williams for never playing his strongest character, the transgendered Hank, for cheap laughs. And the music's a lot cooler: Williams swaps out the predictable "Mega-Dance Hits of Eighties" pap
for the likes of Wreckless Eric and La Peste.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: "It's not like the movies," grumbles a disillusioned senior as he surveys his high school's sorry excuse for a prom. "There's no theme, no prom king and queen. And no-one will lose their virginity cause there are no virgins left." He has a point: Set in 1… (more)