January 01, 2010

Movie Review: Teenage Dirtbag

Teenage Dirtbag (2009) attempts to answer the question: what would have happened if Bender and Claire from the movie The Breakfast Club had met during class instead of detention in the library? Thayer (Scott Michael Foster) and Amber (Noa Hegesh) attend the same high school and are always seated near each other since their last names are close alphatically. Amber is a cheerleader and popular at school. Thayer is a troublemaker. After an offhanded remark Amber makes, Thayer seems to try his hardest to make her as miserable as possible. He does, at least, until they begin bonding in creative writing class.

Because of their troublesome homelives--Thayer has an abusive father and older brother and Amber is ignored--they both feel put upon and find a strange solace in being together. But the ol' social caste system says they can't be together. They try to negotiate their friendship, and it works out how it will work out. But the story doesn't end there. Amber and Thayer meet again and again and neither can rest until the truth is spoken about their feelings for one another.

This movie failed for me because of one reason only. I could not understand what he saw in her. It is easy enough to see what she sees in him. He is tall, handsome in a strange way, protective of those he loves, and he has that "tortured soul" thing down really well. On the other hand, she spends the entire movie being selfish. And they spend only a smidgen of time showing what her home life is like, even though we spend much more time with her than Thayer.
The movie itself isn't going to receive any kudos. It was an independent project of Regina Crosby, who was so desperate to make the film that she took a role in her own film. The writing isn't particularly original. The film is shot from a cheap camera. The acting is atrocious, except for our male lead. But all of that could have been forgiven if I felt anything for Amber. I felt sorry for Thayer, but I despised Amber th whole movie.
One positive thing about this film is that it celebrates poetry and recognizes that it helps us express emotions we can't speak aloud. Maybe this is the thing that drew Thayer to Amber, but she only really wrote one good poem in the film.
I think the primary audience for this is teenagers or adults who are suckers for star-crossed love stories.

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