Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bart Got a Room

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Geek Seeks Prom Date in Tenderhearted, Teen Angst Comedy

Danny Stein (Steven Kaplan) is a socially-awkward, straight-A student who plays the trumpet in his high school’s jazz band. He hails from a Jewish community in Florida which seems to be made up mostly of retirees. The gangly nerd has less of a love life than either of his recently-divorced parents (William H. Macy and Cheryl Hines), who almost rub that fact in by inappropriately sharing the sordid details of their romantic relationships with him.
At the point of departure, it’s getting dangerously close to prom night, and the sexually-repressed senior still doesn’t have a date. Unfortunately, he’s oblivious to the fact that his best friend, Camille (Alia Shawkat), would jump at the chance, if he would only ask her. But Danny simply can’t see her as anything but a buddy, despite the not so subtle hints being dropped by his parents and hers.
Instead, he spends his time fantasizing about taking Britney (Tyler O’Campo), the cute blonde he gives a ride home from school everyday. When he finally summons up the nerve to ask her, she laughs in his face and calls him “deranged.” He subsequently approaches a few other classmates, invariably striking out, like he does with the cute Asian coed who accepts on the condition she doesn’t have to be seen with him, since she already has a boyfriend.
What really irks Danny is learning that Bart Beeber (Chad Jamian Williams), a dweeb even nerdier and homelier-looking than he is, not only has a date, but has already booked a hotel room for a little post prom hanky-panky. This prompts Danny to kick his own search into high gear, to avoid being the last of his peers to lose his virginity. Will he wise up and ask Camille, who has been patiently waiting in the wings?
So, unfolds virgin Bart Got a Room, a refreshing romantic comedy which marks the auspicious scriptwriting and directorial debut of Brian Hecker. The picture proves it’s still possible to find funny teen-oriented fare be funny that doesn’t rely on relentlessly crude and profane humor. This charming throwback is disarmingly tame given these shocking times when such relatively-raunchy jaw-droppers as Superbad, Knocked Up, Zack and Miri Make a Porno tend to dominate the cinematic landscape.
A coming-of-age tale that you can actually take the kids to. What a novel idea!

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality, mature themes and brief profanity.
Running time: 79 minutes
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

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