Teen Spirit (Movie Thoughts: Dismissed/SPF18)

Teenagers – they can be a tricky bunch. But they are such a prime movie demographic that films will continually be made for and about them. I saw two recently.

dis-poster‘Dismissed’ is heavy, and is a kind of a twist in the Fatal-Attraction formula. Dylan Sprous stars as Lukas, a type A student who will stop at nothing to get the A he craves. Even though Lukas is an over-achiever, he has a twisted sensibility and when he gets a B+ instead of an A on his report, things ho haywire in the life of the teacher (Randall Park) and he suspects that it is all Lukas’ doing. Even though the premise is formulaic, I totally got into this thanks to a superb performance by Sprouse, who shows surprising depth. The character is a psycho, but there is something human (even charming) about him that I fell into the trap. I wish the story had a little more meat, but it’s entertaining enough, and it kept my attention even though this is from a genre I normally avoid.

spf18SPF 18, in theory, is more my speed. It’s about Penny, a teenage daughter of a famous talk show host, who gets invited to house sit Keanu Reeves’ house by a guy she has been eyeing for a while. They went to the prom, but nothing happened, so she is hoping. The story is a bit more confusing than it should be, with a friend of hers tagging along, and a musician who camps outside their house. It’s a mess, but there is something endearing in this modern fairy tale that made me smile. There are great cameos here – Goldie Hawn, Pamela Anderson, Keanu – that act as distractions, and even though it wasn’t the best thing in the world, it brought me just the right bit of eternal sunshine.

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