SUMMER 03 – A Review by Cynthia Flores

SUMMER 03 – A Review by Cynthia Flores
I am surprised that this new film, Summer 03, doesn’t have a rating.  Because of its portrayal of underage drinking and sexual activity, I’m guessing that they couldn’t get the PG-13 they were hoping for.  It’s not explicit like most R films, but it does deal with getting wasted, blow jobs, and intercourse.  All of this seen thru the eyes of Jamie (Joey King), who is on her summer break where the most exciting thing to date is hanging out with her friends eating ice cream and sleeping in late.  
Her family is at the side of her dying grandmother Dotty (played over the top by the always great June Squibb), who decides to unburden herself of secrets before she dies.  One by one she takes them aside and lets them know her truth.  To Jamie, Dotty tells her that she made sure that Jamie will go to heaven because she took her behind her Jewish mother’s back when she was a child and had her baptized in the Catholic church.
*Spoilers Alert* Also, she tells her a secret that all women should know and that she wished she had been told, “Learn to give a good blow job.” she says all the while looking like a sweet old woman on her deathbed.  Next, she tells her daughter Hope (Erin Duke) that she has always seen her as a whining insecure person.  She had her late in life and as a child, could not deal with all her noise so she would lock her up in the downstairs closet until she wore herself out crying.  Hope then understands her fear of small spaces.
Her next victim is young Dylan (Logan Medina), Hopes’ son. He sits there too young to fully understand as Dotty tells him, “You are gay, I just know it, and you would do everyone a favor by just running off to get yourself fixed, so you don’t break everyone's heart later on once you realize it.”
She calls in Jamie's mother Shira (Andrea Savage) and tells her that she had never liked her.  To which Shira says, “Ha, I knew it, that's no secret.”   Her last person to speak with is Jamie’s dad Ned (Paul Scheer) who has always been a momma's boy.  He sits there, all dewy-eyed telling her that there’s nothing she could say to him that would make him love her any less.  So, she lets him know that she had an affair while on vacation with her late husband and that his real father is a man in Germany and not the one he grew up with. *End of Spoilers*
As everyone is freaking out about the bombs Dottie has thrown into everyone's lives she finally fades away happy.  So, the rest of the film is the family coming to terms with her loss and the anger towards all the trouble she has stirred up.
Jamie is at the center of it all because it’s through her narrative that we watch her fall for Luke (played by Val Kilmer’s son Jack Kilmer), the tempted novice soon to be a confirmed priest in the Catholic church that Jamie attends for the first time.  It is her summer of self-discovery that fuels the rest of the movie.
Summer 03 is funny but also uneven at times.  The cinematography, especially in the water scenes, is brilliant, and the acting is good.  This is the most subdued I have ever seen Paul Scheer be in a film.  However, the writing feels a bit stilted at times and does not flow as well as it should.  I think it touches on some essential issues teens face but it falls flat in the ways it has chosen to cover it all, especially at the end.  For that reason, I give this film a C+ rating.
Directed by Becca Gleason
Written By Becca Gleason
Rated NR
Selig Rating C+
Running Time 1hr 35min
Limited to wide Release October 5th AMC Stonebriar 24 in Frisco
Starring: Joey King, Andrea Savage, Paul Scheer, June Squibb, Jack Kilmer, Stephen Ruffin, Logan Medina
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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