Film Review by Kam Williams
H.S. Grad Considers Skipping College to Sell Used Cars in Fact-Based Father-Son Saga
Although Freddy Klein (Devon Bostick) is about to finish high school, he still hasn’t decided whether to attend college in the fall. That’s because he’s considering taking a job as a salesman on his father’s (Christopher Meloni) used car lot.
The very idea of it frustrates Freddy’s mother (Bridget Moynahan) to no end, since she divorced Al years ago for being such a slippery character and poor provider. For that reason, she raised her son without her ex’s involvement.
Consequently, she’s dismayed at the prospect of his serving as a role model upon belatedly coming back into the picture on graduation day. Predictably-unreliable Al even proceeds to screw up that occasion, arriving with his girlfriend (Garcelle Beauvais) too late to see his son walk across the stage. Nevertheless, Freddy opts to work and live with his long-estranged dad, an ill-advised decision which prompts his mom to warn, “I will hang myself, if he ends up like you.”
This is the intriguing point of departure of small time, a compelling, coming of age tale ostensibly inspired by a true story. The movie marks the directorial debut of veteran scriptwriter Joel Surnow, who is best known for the Emmy-winning TV series “24.”
Putting a unique spin on the “last summer before college” genre, the film revolves around a father-son bonding opportunity as opposed to the familiar escapist theme of hedonistic teens nostalgically reminiscing while bidding each other farewell in wanton fashion. Instead, we have Al and his partner (Dean Norris) showing Freddy the slimy tricks of the trade as the kid immediately takes to the sleazy profession like a fish to water.
Of course, this development is not lost on his worried mom who hates seeing her son emulating those slippery con artists. Ultimately, it all boils down to whether Freddy will continue down this checkered path or wise up and start school in September?
A refreshingly-realistic, slice-of-life drama highlighting the plight of a teen with a hole in his soul who’s understandably torn between moving on with his life and making up for lost time.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for sexual references.
Running time: 95 minutes
Distributor: Anchor Bay Films/Freestyle Releasing