Shy, sensitive April is the class virgin, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach Mr. B and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy. Emily, meanwhile, offers sexual favors to every boy to cross her path - including both Teddy and his best friend Fred, a live wire without filters or boundaries. As one high school party bleeds into the next - and April and Teddy struggle to admit their mutual affection - Fred's escalating recklessness starts to spiral into chaos. Written by Anonymous
May 9, 2014
In Palo Alto, Director Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola teams up with James Franco to create a story of teenage life for a group of high school kids in Palo Alto California. James Franco plays a lecherous girls soccer coach, Mr. B who has an affair with his student April played by Emma Roberts. The ensemble cast also features Emily a very promiscuous teen played by Zoe Levine. You might recognize her from The Way Way Back (2013). The part of Fred the psychotic over the top teen is played by Nat Wolf. Nis friend Teddy is played by Jack Kilmer. The son of none other than Ice Man himself Val Kilmer, who makes a brief cameo as April’s step father.
This film struggles hard with what I assume is deliberately slow pacing for unnecessary contemplative character reflection. I think what they were looking for was a Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) story line, with the gritty realism of Larry Clark’s Kids (1995). There is even a reference to the famous Phoebe Cates topless pool seen, that obviously had to recreate when access to the actual clip was denied. The story is all based on a short story written by James Franco. Perhaps fantasy fiction for a guy who in recent social media mishaps was called out for attempting to hook up with a 17 year old girl. The film delves into all the taboo underbelly of high school life, sex, drugs, alcohol and statutory rape. This film fails to cover any new ground, and the message seems mixed. If you are fan crushing on Emma Roberts this movie may be mildly interesting for you. No nudity, just one awkward, uncomfortable, sex scene after another; but then again that’s high school. The one silver lining to this film is Jack Kilmer. His acting is believable and shows the beginning of some promising talent. He looks like a younger version of his father mixed with a little Johnny Depp. I expect to see some great things from this kid in the future. Just wait till his next film, this one is not worth the time.