From 1984 to 1996, Rob Reiner was one of the best directors in the business. Just look at this filmography: This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, Ghosts of Mississippi and The American President (in 12 years, he had only one misfire: North). But since Ghosts, he hasn’t been able to re-conjure that magic, directing one dud after another: Bucket List, Rumor Has It …, Everyday Life, Alex and Emma and The Story of Us.
I’d nearly chalked Rob Reiner up to the movie heavens. But he just might have one left in the tank, and it’s likely because Reiner had a hand in writing this one, and you get the feeling he’s pulling from something personal. A little, at least.
It’s a coming-of-age movie set in the ’50s. And while it’s not cool or edgy or comic-book-y, it looks like it might just have some of that old school Reiner romanticism. It really doesn’t have a chance at the box office — a coming of age movie with no contemporary stars, and adults played largely by the stars of yesteryear (Rebecca DeMornay, Aidan Quinn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Mahoney, Anthony Edwards), but for those who are huge suckers for coming-of-age flicks, this one looks remarkably sweet. Also, the lack of contemporary teen stars is mighty refreshing (assuming that the eighth graders in the movie are not actually popular in that alternate tween universe).
Movies like these were once somewhat common, but I don’t think I’ve seen one in a decade. I’m determined now to dig up a few for a seriously random list. But first, let’s see if the earnestness of the trailer can cut through your collective cynicism.