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FLIPPED (dvd review)

Warner Home Video // November 23, 2010 // Rated PG

The Pitch
When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows it’s love. Bryce isn’t so sure. In the days and years ahead, Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) does all he can to keep his wannabe girlfriend at arm’s length – and the smart, independent-minded Juli (Madeline Carroll) continues to give him the benefit of the doubt. This tender coming-of-age romantic comedy from director Rob Reiner takes the pair from grade school to junior high, through triumph and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make discoveries that will define who they are – and who they are to each other.

The Review
Few filmmakers have the range of Rob Reiner, having directed such a large number of both great (This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Stand By Me) and terrible films (North, The Story of Us, Alex & Emma).

Flipped falls somewhere in the middle, harmless, but hardly memorable.

Part of it simply is the result of the artifice that replaces actual emotion.  Told from parallel points of view, Flipped focuses on the two characters destined to fall in love, despite such obstacles as social status and peer pressure, all while set against a soundtrack of hit songs from yesteryear.   The calculated attempt to terrorize the viewer’s emotions doesn’t really work.  Both the film and the relationships within have been seen on screen dozens of times before.  And dozens of times more successfully.

Reiner uses a voice-over fairly consistently over the bulk of the film, yet it serves little purpose, especially since there are a number of subplots left unresolved.  John Mahoney, Aidan Quinn, and Anthony Edwards are among the supporting cast, but this is not a film that showcases their talents in any capacity.

Although I didn’t connect with the film, Flipped might find an audience.  I’m just not sure who.

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