Flipped - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Dec 6, 2010, 15:59 GMT
"Flipped," based on Wendelin Van Draanen\'s novel, When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows it’s love. But Bryce isn’t so sure. Girl-phobic and easily embarrassed, young Bryce does everything he can to keep his outspoken wannabe girlfriend at arm’s length… for the next six years, which isn’t easy since they go to the same school and live across the street from each other, but if Juli finally looks away, ...more
Flipped may seem like old hat from Rob Reiner with shades of Stand by Me. However, it can’t easily be dismissed because it’s a good and gentle film (though I did have a problem or two) and perfect for family viewing.
When Bryce (Ryan Ketzner) was in third grade he moved next door to Juli (Morgan Lily). Bryce was wary of the girl but she had only eyes from him. This relationship continues until Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) and Juli (Madeline Carroll) are teens in sixth grade in 1963.
Bryce’s family, mom Patsy (Rebecca De Mornay), dad Steven (Anthony Edwards), sister Lynetta (Cody Horn), doesn’t really associate with Juli’s family, mom Trina (Penelope Ann Miller), dad Richard (Aidan Quinn), and brothers David (Michael Bolton) and Matt (Shane Harper). That starts to change when Bryce’s grandfather Chet (John Mahoney) moves in with them after the death of his beloved wife.
Juli loves to look at the world from the top of an old sycamore tree, but when it’s going to be cut down she climbs up it and won’t come down. She begs Bryce and her classmates to come up and help her save the tree but they ignore her. She’s eventually forced to vacate the tree and it is felled, but the story makes the local paper.
Chet admires her determination and spunk, reminding him of his late wife, and encourages Bryce to talk to the girl.
Flipped is a gentle, sweet comedy of perspective. The vignettes of the associations of Bryce and Juli are told from one character’s perspective, with internal thoughts narrated, and then we flip and see it from the other side. Much of it hides the characters true feelings and we see them changing their stances.
Rob Reiner has mined this sort of sweet comedy/period piece (Stand by Me) before and that may flavor your appreciation of the film. It does seem like a companion piece to Stand by Me. Some may also not like having to see each episode again, even if it is from the other character’s perspective.
However, the cast is game and Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe (who is Australian with full accent, not that he shows it in the film!) are superbly cast and have a great chemistry. The film is all about them, which in some ways is the little niggle I have with the film.
We’re given glimpses into the lives of the parents (Richard has a mentally retarded brother (Kevin Weisman) that all the family funds go to his care and Steven is a sad sack with failed dreams that always has a drink in his hand) but they’re never expounded upon so those storylines go nowhere. The siblings are mostly ignored.
Only Chet seems like a fully realized character, perhaps thanks to the gravitas of Mahoney. Maybe it was just the short running time and so much to cram in. Niggles aside, Flipped is a fine film and event the wife (who can’t sit still during movies) sat down, watched it and enjoyed it.
A great little flashback to a simpler time as well as a fine film from Reiner’s filmography.
Flipped is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1). Special features are slim but are all in high definition. The 6 minute “The Difference between Boys and Girls” is a making of, the 5 minute “Embarrassing Egg-scuses” is about the chickens in the film, the 3 minute “Anatomy of a Near-kiss” is about that the actors tackling that scene, and the 5 minute “How to make the Best Volcano” is a humorous how-to for your next science fair. Disc two is a DVD and digital copy.
Flipped is a simple but sweet and life affirming film. Rob Reiner is more back on form, but a commentary from him would’ve been nice. My family and I greatly enjoyed the film. The great young cast shines in this lovely little film.
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