First love and other fumblings--we've all been down this road before, but that doesn't stop Let It Snow from skiing across this familiar turf with lighter-than-air abandon. It's a career-making turn for the Brothers Marcus, who exhibit a fresh and charming way with the love-struck young who reel in and out of relationships. Adam Marcus directed, and his younger brother Kipp Marcus wrote, produced and played this frolic--both with skill.

A quirky title for a summertime release, you might say--but that's the point. The movie is based on a buoyant old feeling from boyhood when it was announced that there would be no school today because of snow. Indeed, the film initially slipped into festivals under the title of Snow Days in October 1999 B.C.C. (Before Chevy Chase's Snow Day).

On one such day, our teenage hero James Ellis meets the girl next door, newly imported from Michigan--Sarah Milson (Alice Dylan). The two form an instant and seemingly irreversible When Harry Met Sally sort of thing and stay locked on friendship until years later when they cross paths in Manhattan. She's in college, he's in "the other C.I.A." (Culinary Institute of America), and they share a night, but, comes the dawn, they deny their obvious affection and go their separate ways--she toward a well-heeled marriage, he to "open-mike therapy," where love's unfortunates spill their guts in public.

I told you it doesn't synopsize well. The trick is in the treatment of the characters, which is so light-fingered in direction, writing and playing, they loom penny-bright and life-size.

The film comes out of the starting gate sprinting through James Ellis' early family history, illustrating how the course of true love will be a rough row to hoe for him. His grammy done told him: "Stay away from love. We're all doomed. In this family, the men leave and the women go crazy." Illustrating the point: When he was five, his father bolted from home and hearth, declaring "I have to be an 'I' before I can be a 'we,'" leaving him to be raised willy-nilly by his New Age mom while she is otherwise engaged with a succession of exotic suitors (aka "the International House of Boyfriends").

Bernadette Peters, Broadway's Tony-winning kewpie-doll, is very funny and affecting as the amorously mobile mother--achieving a lot in a little screen time. Marcus and Dylan play the central twosome-in-spite-of-themselves with breezy assurance. Larry Pine scores as her disapproving dad ("Call me Sir"), and Miriam Shor runs a hilarious gamut as a repressed sorority sister who flowers in a flamboyantly wanton fashion after college.

Let It Snow may be out of season, but it's not out of step. Let there be more...

--Harry Haun