FlippedBy Karen Wilson
MPAA Rating: PG for language and some thematic material.
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Release Date: August 6, 2010
Running Time: 1 hour and half
Plot Synopsis: When Bryce Loski moves in across the street from Julianna Baker in the second grade, for Juli it's love at first sight but Bryce is a little less enamored. In fact, he's determined to stay away from her, particularly after the kids at school begin to tease Bryce about Juli's obvious crush. As the neighbors grow older and reach junior high school, their relationship has evolved to a tentative friendship. When Bryce's grandfather Chet moves in with the family, he takes a liking to Juli and this causes Bryce to rethink his feelings about this unusual girl who wins the school science fair, raises chickens, and loves sycamore trees.
Sex/Nudity: Bryce accidentally grabs Juli's hand the first day they meet. Bryce briefly dates Sherry Stalls in the fifth grade to get Juli to leave him alone. In voice over, Juli says she longs for Bryce to be her first kiss and he finally tries to one day at school after Juli has bid on another boy at the Booster Club lunch basket auction. Juli runs away and won't speak to Bryce until he comes over to her house to apologize and brings a sycamore tree, which they plant together in her yard.
Violence/Gore: Juli's father Richard has a brother Daniel who is kept in an institution. When Juli and her Dad go to visit him they take him out for ice cream but Daniel drops his cone on the ground and then has a fit in the store, knocking over the table and screaming. Bryce's father Steven fights with his daughter Lynette and slaps her across the face.
Profanity: Some harsh language said in anger by various adults or the older teenagers such as "goddamn it," "what the hell," and "asshole."
Which Kids Will Like It? Pre-teen girls might be interested in the chaste love story between Juli and Bryce but younger children will probably be uninterested in the nostalgic look at the '50s and older children will be bored by the mild drama.
Will Parents Like It? If you ever watched Stand By Me and thought, "if only Rob Reiner would make a nostalgic look back at teenage life in the late '50s, early '60s but without any edginess" then Flipped is your movie.
Kaboose Review: Ah young love, so tender and so intense. In Wendelin Van Draanen's popular young adult novel Flipped, she captures a budding tween relationship by telling both sides of the story alternating the girl and boy's narrative he-said-she-said-style. The book has now been brought to the big screen with an adaptation directed by Rob Reiner that casts the action back to the late '50s and early '60s complete with period costumes, cars and class distinctions. It's a sweet, wholesome if slight dull story about valuing good character, intelligence, and honesty over that flighty blonde who bids on your lunch basket.
Like in the book, the film version of Flipped alternates between telling the story from Bryce and Juli's point of view. We get to see their fateful meeting from both perspectives: when Bryce's family moves in to the house across the street Juli's swoons over his blue eyes and Bryce is horrified that he's accidentally grabbed her hand. As time goes on the intensity of the ardor switches from Juli, who begins to question whether insensitive Bryce is worth her time, to Bryce, who notices that Juli's strong personality is more attractive than he thought.
The two young actors who play Bryce and Juli are pleasant but not very remarkable. They don't have that easy charisma you sometimes glimpse in child actors when you know they'll grow up to be stars. The supporting cast of adults is strong, particularly John Mahoney as Bryce's grandfather who calls Juli iridescent and Aiden Quinn as Juli's hard working father Richard. The production design is also adequate, hitting all of the notes necessary for a period movie, without being particularly noteworthy.
The movie might have had more vitality and staying power if they'd kept the action set in the present. As it is, it seems to be like a half-baked episode of The Wonder Years but without the framing device indicating it's a story told by a nostalgic father. It's hard to understand why this relationship between Juli and Bryce is given so much significance if they don't grow up to be someone's mother and father. The dramas in their relationship like the cutting down of an old sycamore tree Juli loves or the Basket Boy auction Bryce participates in at school seem so slight. It's nice that the two finally become friends, or maybe more, as they plant a tree in Juli's yard but it's not an ending that stays with you as you exit the movie theater.
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Cast: Callan McAuliffe (Bryce Loski), Madeline Carroll (Juli Baker), Anthony Edwards (Steven Loski), Rebecca De Mornay (Patsy Loski), Penelope Ann Miller (Trina Baker), Aiden Quinn (Richard Baker), John Mahoney (Chet Duncan), Michael Bolton (Mark Baker), Shane Harper (Matt Baker), Ashley Taylor (Sherry Stalls), Cody Horn (Lynette Loski)
Karen Wilson is a freelance writer living in New York City.