Movie Review: FLIPPED

You know how I knew I really liked this movie? My eyes were often wet and I didn’t want it to end. Wished I could stay inside its golden glow for a while longer to see the lead characters grow up, making sure they turn out okay.

Young Bryce (Ryan Ketzner) and Young Juli (Morgan Lily)

Based on the book by Wendelin Van Draanen (how cool is that name?), Flipped (opening August 6) tells the story of two kids growing up on the same street who develop feelings for each other, but different kinds at different times. Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) decides she has a crush on Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) from the moment she sees his family move into the neighborhood. He thinks the tomboyish, chicken-raising Juli is strange and does all he can to discourage her swooning. Their relationship is also hampered by Bryce’s uptight dad’s (Anthony Edwards) condescending attitude towards Juli’s blue-collar family. Things change when Bryce’s grandfather (John Mahoney) comes to live with the Loskis and takes a shine to Juli. Grandpa makes Bryce see Juli in a different light and eventually Bryce can’t stop thinking about her. His Eureka moment may come too late, though, because after some offensive behavior on his part, Juli is beginning to think he’s no longer worth her devotion.

If you’ve ever experienced the painful sweetness of a childhood crush, you’ll love this movie. I know all about unrequited feelings and being considered the weird girl so relating to Juli was easy. I also found her, as played by the winning Carroll (Kevin Costner’s daughter in Swing Vote), the coolest kid in town, with a maturity way beyond her peers’. I have no doubt the actress will transition well into grown-up roles. The Aussie McAuliffe, with his blond curls and angel face, makes an appropriate puppy love object. His role is less demanding than Carroll’s but he nails the American accent and his screen presence hints at future heartthrob status.

The supporting roles are filled by an Eighties All-Star cast, including my own ’80s crush, Aidan Quinn, as Juli’s dad; Penelope Ann Miller as her mom; Rebecca De Mornay as Bryce’s mother and the aforementioned Edwards as his dad. Perhaps this is because director Rob Reiner’s greatest hits happened two decades ago and he’s indulging in nostalgia. I read in this L.A. Times interview that even though Van Draanen’s book is contemporary, Reiner set the movie in the ’50s to keep the central relationship pure, devoid of Facebook and texting. This was a wise move, allowing him to enhance the story’s emotional resonance with real feelings instead of emoticons. In a time when even kids’ movies are 3D and special effects laden, this simple love story reminds us what it’s like to be truly innocent.

Nerd verdict: Heartfelt Flipped

Photos: Warner Bros.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Novelwhore
    August 3, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Ohhh I saw Inception last weekend and while enjoyable, I think this movie would be perfect for my next cinematic venture as it is the foil of those very expensive special effects that were very video game-esque to me. I probably would have ignored this movie if not for your review. Thanks as usual PCN!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 4, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      If I hadn’t been invited to a free screening, I probably would’ve skipped it, too. The trailer didn’t look that interesting, making the movie an even more pleasant surprise.

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    August 3, 2010 at 9:37 am

    How does this compare with Stand By Me? SBM, even though it has the dead-on foul language of youth, was a film I shared with my kids for its story and sentiment. Thanks for the review, PCN.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 4, 2010 at 8:16 pm

      As much as I liked SBM, I enjoyed this more because of the love story at its center. Out of curiosity, I asked my husband your question and he also said he found Flipped just a little more enjoyable.

      • Reply
        le0pard13
        August 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm

        Oh, then I’m definitely going to take this in! Thanks, Elyse.

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          August 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

          You can share this with your kids, too. Please let me know what you think if you all go see it.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    August 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    It sounds like a beautiful one, PCN. I find it fascinating that the movie was set before Facebook and texting for those reasons {ones that make troublingly good sense to me}.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm

      I love the old-fashioned dating rituals, especially a scene that involves basket boys. You’ll have to see it to get the concept and no, it has nothing to do with sports.

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    August 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I saw the trailer and was interested once I saw it was directed by Rob Reiner. Madeline Carroll was the ONLY good thing about Swing Vote.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      August 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm

      I didn’t see Vote but your saying she’s better than Costner doesn’t surprise me one bit.

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