Friday, March 12, 2010

Jay's Review: Splinterheads

The DVD came as a screener copy with no extras and no frills. Thankfully, this film I reviewed for is a gem...



Justin Frost, a twenty-something slacker, has decided that his “thing” is that he has no “thing” at all. When a small-time carnival rolls into town, he meets Galaxy, a gorgeous con artist who has more “things” going for her than anyone he has ever met. Galaxy takes Justin on a geocaching adventure, a GPS based activity that is part hike and part treasure hunt, and he quickly falls for her. Complicating matters are his mom’s (Lea Thompson) floundering relationship with a lovesick local cop (Christopher McDonald) and Galaxy’s insanely jealous boyfriend Reggie (Dean Winters). In order to win her over he’s going to need to step up his game, and maybe even figure out what his “thing” really is.

Watching coming-of-age stories may be as much a right of passage as actually coming of age. So what if the character maturing and finding out what it means to be an adult already looks to be in his mid-twenties?

In Splinterheads, we have an aimless, loser type who meets the exciting gal who sees something in him the rest of us don't. In this scenario, the too-long-at-home Justin attends the traveling circus and encounters a Carny con-artist, creatively named Galaxy. She treats the nebbish landscaper assistant horribly but he somehow (ahem) finds that all forgivable once she peels down to her underwear. Of course, you know her free-spirited, somewhat criminal freedom will bring him out of his shell. Think along the way he'll stand up to some bullies, learn more about himself, and start to stand on his own two feet?

The leads are relative unknowns, Thomas Middleditch and Rachel Taylor from Transformers, and they're able and charming. Also, they're supported by some older pros. Frankie Faison and Dean Winters appear show up as "Splinterheads," evidently a term for "Carny folk." Lea Thompson plays Justin's mom, just as sparkling as always. Christopher McDonald is the comic highlight of the film as her lovelorn ex-boyfriend, the buffoonish Sergeant Bruce. As sweet as our headliners wind up being, I'd rather watch their romance anytime.

In a coming-of-age romance, you know they're going to, well, come of age. It's the journey they take that tells. There's nothing here you haven't seen before in different settings, but Splinterheads feels like a labor of love.

Fine for teens up, though perhaps not enough for those who've gotten these life experiences under their belts, Splinterheads features a charming cast and pleasant love story. Slight and wispy as a Summer day spent at swimming at a quarry, but also just as pleasurable an experience.


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