Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Premature

Enjoyable but lightweight teen comedy is less novel than expected.

July 2, 2014

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1403558-Premature_Md.jpg
The recent loss of Harold Ramis does no favors to Dan Beers' Premature, a modest but likeable spin on Groundhog Day that would play better for audiences who hadn't spent time reflecting on what an unimprovable film that was, and how rewatchable it is even after two decades. When compared to Bill Murray's eternally repeating day of self-improvement, the struggle of a lackluster high-school kid to figure out his love life by living the same day over and over is small potatoes. The novelty here—that this adolescent's life hits the reset button whenever he ejaculates—is good for a few laughs, and may be weird enough to attract a small audience in theatres. But the execution isn't outrageous or funny enough to make a big splash in the teen-comedy marketplace.

John Karna plays Rob, whose plans for this school day are to make a good impression with a college interviewer, survive the usual bullying in the hallway, and spend a quiet evening with good friend Gabrielle (Katie Findlay) watching the national spelling bee finals. But life intervenes in ways both cruel and miraculous: Though things go badly on many fronts, he also winds up having an unexpected tutoring session with Angela (Carlson Young), the school's resident object of lust, who invites him to her place and has more than studying on her mind. Just as that scenario reaches its climax, though, Rob wakes up as if from a wet dream, starting the same day over again.

The script, by Beers and Mathew Harawitz, offers a little less invention in this endless-repeat scenario than it might have. But Karna's initially stone-faced performance grows more enjoyable as Rob embraces the fact that he can do what he wants at school, safe in the knowledge that there will be no consequences as soon as he does what teenage boys are best at—so long as he can find a private place for a few moments of self-abuse, he'll escape to a fresh day. He briefly becomes "the Douchey Lama," philosophically embracing a life without repercussions.

An early focus on getting things right in bed with Angela plays out halfheartedly, and Rob's eventual attempt to figure out why he's stuck in a loop in hopes of escaping it proceeds without real clues. Though viewers will draw their own conclusions about what Rob's priorities should be, the film doesn't really lead them gently in that direction. Findlay makes an appealing should-be romantic interest; Alan Tudyk, as a surprisingly emotional interviewer, goes broader than usual but gets many of the film's biggest laughs. Tech departments are fine if similarly unsubtle; though the direction has some clumsy moments, they evoke ’80s low-budget comedies in ways that may be intentional.

The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for cast & crew information.


Film Review: Premature

Enjoyable but lightweight teen comedy is less novel than expected.

July 2, 2014

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1403558-Premature_Md.jpg

The recent loss of Harold Ramis does no favors to Dan Beers' Premature, a modest but likeable spin on Groundhog Day that would play better for audiences who hadn't spent time reflecting on what an unimprovable film that was, and how rewatchable it is even after two decades. When compared to Bill Murray's eternally repeating day of self-improvement, the struggle of a lackluster high-school kid to figure out his love life by living the same day over and over is small potatoes. The novelty here—that this adolescent's life hits the reset button whenever he ejaculates—is good for a few laughs, and may be weird enough to attract a small audience in theatres. But the execution isn't outrageous or funny enough to make a big splash in the teen-comedy marketplace.

John Karna plays Rob, whose plans for this school day are to make a good impression with a college interviewer, survive the usual bullying in the hallway, and spend a quiet evening with good friend Gabrielle (Katie Findlay) watching the national spelling bee finals. But life intervenes in ways both cruel and miraculous: Though things go badly on many fronts, he also winds up having an unexpected tutoring session with Angela (Carlson Young), the school's resident object of lust, who invites him to her place and has more than studying on her mind. Just as that scenario reaches its climax, though, Rob wakes up as if from a wet dream, starting the same day over again.

The script, by Beers and Mathew Harawitz, offers a little less invention in this endless-repeat scenario than it might have. But Karna's initially stone-faced performance grows more enjoyable as Rob embraces the fact that he can do what he wants at school, safe in the knowledge that there will be no consequences as soon as he does what teenage boys are best at—so long as he can find a private place for a few moments of self-abuse, he'll escape to a fresh day. He briefly becomes "the Douchey Lama," philosophically embracing a life without repercussions.

An early focus on getting things right in bed with Angela plays out halfheartedly, and Rob's eventual attempt to figure out why he's stuck in a loop in hopes of escaping it proceeds without real clues. Though viewers will draw their own conclusions about what Rob's priorities should be, the film doesn't really lead them gently in that direction. Findlay makes an appealing should-be romantic interest; Alan Tudyk, as a surprisingly emotional interviewer, goes broader than usual but gets many of the film's biggest laughs. Tech departments are fine if similarly unsubtle; though the direction has some clumsy moments, they evoke ’80s low-budget comedies in ways that may be intentional.

The Hollywood Reporter

Click here for cast & crew information.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

PK
Film Review: PK

An alien trying to return home tangles with religious authorities in a low-key Bollywood message drama. More »

A Small Section
Film Review: A Small Section of the World

Worthy but uninvolving documentary about the coffee-producing women of Costa Rica. More »

Sagrada
Film Review: Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation

The fabulous 130-year work-in-progress that is Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cathedral, as well as its crazy-brilliant originator, Antonio Gaudi, is the focus of this vividly informative documentary. More »

Inside the Mind of Leonardo
Film Review: Inside the Mind of Leonardo in 3D

Documentary-feature hybrid that offers unexpected insight into the world of Leonardo da Vinci, but nonetheless suffers from a heavy hand and pretentious sensibility. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Into the Woods
Film Review: Into the Woods

Over-scaled, too dark and only intermittently charming Sondheim musical adaptation does a disservice to a great cast and is often so noisy you can't even appreciate the music. More »

The H obbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Film Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

After rewriting the rules for modern fantasy cinema, for the better and worse, Peter Jackson’s six-film Tolkien saga slams, bangs and shudders to a long-overdue conclusion. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here