Courtesy: IFC FIlms
IFC Films’ teen comedy Premature is not only one of the best indie flicks of 2014, but it is one of the best movies of the year overall. In comparison to the endless stream of prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood’s “Power 5” studios, this movie is a complete breath of fresh air. It balances just enough bawdiness and raunch with an equal amount of depth and heart to make it a surprisingly entertaining work. The central reason for that is the movie’s script. It isn’t just another standard, formulaic teen romp. It actually teaches some important lessons; lessons that both male and female audiences will appreciate. The movie’s script is at the heart of its enjoyment. Another reason that audiences will enjoy this movie is its bonus material. Included as bonus material on the DVD are a number of interviews with the cast and crew, a fun little behind-the-scenes featurette, and even an alternate ending that proves to be just as good as the ending presented in the final product. The last aspect of the movie that makes it enjoyable for audiences is the acting on the part of the cast. The cast isn’t exactly A-listers just yet. But its members already have quite the chops under their belts thanks to roles on some big movies and TV shows. It shows quite well in this presentation, too. It rounds out a movie that while being an indie flick, is one of this year’s best indie flicks and one of the year’s best movies overall.
At first glance, many critics have automatically panned IFC Films’ new teen comedy Premature. Elizabeth Weitzman, of the New York Daily News, said of the movie that it is “a retreat of every lousy 80s high school comedy you never bothered watching.” And Variety’s Joe Leydon had one of the harshest comments, attacking not only the movie but those that actually showed any appreciation of the movie. He noted of the movie and its audiences that “only undiscriminating audiences with a pronounced taste for crotch-centric tomfoolery will sample this goulash.” Really, Joe? There was an equally scathing commentary from New York Times writer Nicolas Rapold, equating co-writers Dan Beers and Mathew Harawitz’s script to work from Family Guy head Seth McFarlane. That is an insult of the highest degree. For all of its naysayers, Premature has also gotten positive marks, too. Though, even those positive remarks have been tepid at best. This means that most audiences and critics that saw this movie completely missed the mark in analyzing it. The script itself does throw back to the teen romps of the 80s. There’s no denying that. But it throws back to more than just those movies. Its script balances the crudeness of those movies with the heart–believe it or not–of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. To a lesser extent, those that are old enough to remember will see a comparison to the likes of Fox’s classic series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, too. That’s thanks in large part to the work of lead actor John Karna, who plays Rob Crabbe. The movie sees Rob learn some valuable lessons about both life and love as the story progresses. He learns about doing what makes him happy versus what makes his father happy through his interactions with his Georgetown recruiter and his father. The lesson about love just happens to be tied in to Rob’s own full-throttle sex drive. Audiences need to remember that in our adolescence, the human sex drive is actually much like what is portrayed here. Hormones are going crazy in the adolescent brain and body. Beer and Harawitz have just taken that fact and made humorous light of it as part of the bigger picture. Keeping that in mind makes that aspect of the movie less crude and much funnier. If audiences can accept that fact and enjoy it for what it is, they will enjoy Premature much more. They will also enjoy the lessons incorporated into the script, too thus leading to a realization that this movie is far more enjoyable than what some would have others believe.
The script used for Premature is by itself more than enough reason to give this underrated indie flick worth at least one watch. By itself, it makes Premature one of this year’s best new indie flicks and one of the year’s best new movies overall. The script is just part of what makes the movie worth watching. The bonus material included with the movie makes the presentation in whole even more enjoyable. There are interviews with the cast and crew that will inform and entertain audiences. There is also a bonus alternate ending that proves to be just as entertaining as the ending presented in the final product if not more so. And the bonus behind-the-scenes featurette will have audiences just as much in stitches. [John] Karna takes audiences through the movie’s sets during this segment. Throughout the featurette, Karna stays somewhat in character holding the same personality as Rob Crabbe without actually trying to portray Rob. He playfully hits on every female that he finds as if he were Rob. It really is fun and funny to watch. Together with the bonus interviews and alternate ending, it shows even more what makes the movie’s bonus features even more important to the presentation in whole. They collectively make Premature that much more of a joy to watch. They still aren’t the last of the factors that make Premature so enjoyable, either. The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as important to the movie. It rounds out the whole that is this surprisingly entertaining indie flick.
The acting on the part of Premature’s cast is one of the most important parts of this movie’s enjoyment. Most audiences probably don’t know the cast’s names. But Karna and his cast mates–Katie Findlay (How To Get Away With Murder, The Carrie Diaries, After The Dark), Alan Tudyk (Frozen, Wreck-it-Ralph ,i-Robot) Craig Roberts (Neighbors, 22 Jump Street, Jane Eyre), Steve Coulter (The Hunger Games, Insidious: Chapter 2, The Conjuring) , and Carlson Young (True Blood, The Dog Who Saved Christmas, Pretty Little Liars)–are each fully believable in their roles. And that is thanks to their work on some rather well-known movies and TV series. Katie Findlay plays Rob’s best friend Gabrielle. She does quite the job in her role, although most audiences can tell as the story progresses what will happen between them. It’s a classic partnering that has been used before. But it still works quite well even in this case. Alan tudyk plays the part of Rob’s Georgetown recruiter. Tudyk is a laugh riot as he breaks down, crying like a little child as he interviews Rob. His acting will by itself leave audiences laughing uproariously. Craig Roberts plays Rob’s sex-crazed friend Stanley. Even in the side-kick role, Roberts offers his own share of laughs. One could really compare him to Stiffler from the famed American Pie franchise, only younger. Steve Coulter plays a minimal role as Rob’s dad Jim. But he’s still entertaining as the standard subtly controlling father figure. And Carlson Young is spot on as the stereotypical blonde sex kitten Angela Yearwood. Her role is understated as it plays an important part in Rob’s personal development and self-realization. But just as with her co-stars, Young pulls off her role expertly as do the rest of the cast members. Their collective experience makes their portrayals here so enjoyable in their own right. It makes suspension of disbelief so simple in this case. The end result is a story that will keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish, laughing the whole way through.
Whether it be the movie’s script, the bonus features included as part of the whole, or the acting on the part of the cast, Premature proves in the end to have plenty of positives. It proves to have far more positives than its critics would lead audiences to believe. It proves to be one of this year’s best new indie flicks and one of the year’s best new movies overall. It is available in stores and online now. More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at:
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