“The Preppie Connection” tells the story of Toby, who is a high school student at Choate Rosemary Hall, a very prestigious Wallingford Connecticut school where John F Kennedy and Edward Albee went to school. Toby is a scholar, and the movie tries to show a fish out of water coming of age story, wherein Toby starts to deal drugs in order to gain acceptance from his classmates, whose pedigree include relatives who go horseback riding with Ronald Reagan. And in the movie, of course, he also does it to impress a girl.
I wish the movie were more interesting – but then again, in these modern times, the story is kind of a snooze. In the film Toby goes to Columbia to smuggle cocaine and gets caught at JFK Airport, and in the movie it doesn’t really pay off for real dramatic effect. (In the real story, the young man actually goes to Caracas Venezuela) I wish also that Joseph Costelo portrayed more edge – I never got the sense of the danger of what all these kids were doing. I wish it was sexier, to show the allure of the crime. Even the punishment of the crime seems trivia (Five years of probation and community service? That’s it?) Thomas Mann, as Toby was a curious choice for me. In the beginning of the movie, I th0ught maybe they should have chosen an actor better looking or more charismatic. But then again, that would probably not serve the character well, and Mann has the right amount of vulnerability and insecurity. And when, during the final credits, you get a glimpse of the 60 Minute interview about the whole thing, you thought to yourself, there has to be more to this story than the movie you just saw.