Flipped (from director Rob Reiner)
Rob Reiner has gone back to directing kids in his latest effort FLIPPED, but this is a far, far cry from STAND BY ME, which was adult-themed and R-rated. No, FLIPPED is packed with so much wholesome goodness that cynical audience members like myself that grew up watching Rambo kill people for fun and the Coreys trying to lose their virginity won’t be able to control the nausea this film induces. I’m only partly joking, but this film felt like a slightly creative episode of ‘Leave it to Beaver’.
The story is a two-sided look at a young romance that blossoms between Juli and her new neighbor, Bryce that switches narrators and points of view between the two kids. At first, Bryce doesn’t want anything to do with Julie, but as he gets older, he realizes he might have a thing for her. That seems pretty straightforward, and it is, but the conflict that comes up between the characters is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting and ranges from Bryce lying to Juli about liking her farm-raised eggs to Bryce not helping Juli protect a Sycamore tree (I told you this was wholesome). These two lovebirds are aided on their path by Bryce’s grandfather (John Mahoney, clearly missing his ‘Frasier’ days), who nudges young Bryce along and helps point out Juli’s attributes.
You could tell that Rob Reiner toyed with the idea of having more “grown-up” conflict in the film. There were hints that Bryce’s dad was an alcoholic and that could have been taken in any number of directions, but ended up getting glossed over. That was disappointing since Anthony Edwards did a nice job in the role, but was held back from really getting into it. Juli’s family was poor, which could have created some dramatic situations, but again, that was just barely touched on. It’s not necessarily a bad thing neither idea was explored, but just know that this film is not aimed at adults or teenagers; this is a “romance” film for kids and everything is strictly PG.
Even though I understand I’m not the target audience for the film, it doesn’t change the fact that I found the film to be overly sentimental and fake. It’s set in the 50’s, but regardless of what Hollywood tries to tell you, life wasn’t perfect in the 50’s. Moms didn’t spend all day baking cookies and fathers didn’t come home every night and read stories to their kids by the campfire. They had the same problems back then that we have now, they just didn’t have the internet or cable TV. So any time I see a movie like this, I can’t help but groan at the picture it paints. But again, this movie wasn’t made for people my age.
If I had kids or was forced to watch kids films, I would probably have a higher opinion of FLIPPED. Parents should appreciate it’s wholesome qualities, but those looking for a PG STAND BY ME will be sorely disappointed.
Video (1080p High Definition 16×9, 1.85:1) Clear and crisp image.
Audio (5.1 Dolby Digital)-Sounded great, nothing too fancy to magnify in this film.
The Differences Between a Boy and a Girl (6:58): This was a little featurette about the two young stars of the film.
Anatomy of a Near Kiss (3:01): About the eventual kiss between the two stars, glad I didn’t have a lot of adults analyzing my first experience.
Embarrassing Egg-Scuses (4:59): All the excuses for the egg scene, how this managed to get its own featurette is embarassing.
How to Make the Best Volcano (5:02): This was Callan McAuliffe walking us through constructing a volcano, seriously?