Suburban Girl

Playing out like a watered-down cross between Shopgirl and The Devil Wears Prada (two well-received and significantly higher caliber films), Suburban Girl – screenwriter Marc Klein’s directorial debut - makes no attempt to outdo its status as a straight-to-video flick. Adapted by Klein from two short stories from author Melissa Banks’ The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Suburban Girl is a fairly lackluster exploration of a young woman’s experiences coming into her own in the big city.

The central focus here is the more-awkward-than-necessary May-December relationship between 24-year old Brett Eisenberg (a 30-year old Sarah Michelle Gellar taking a stab at actual acting) and 50-year old infamous editor Archie Knox (an embarassing, but believable, Alec Baldwin). While Steve Martin’s Shopgirl screenplay examined this subject with tact and realism, Klein’s choppy and slightly mindless script (remember, this is the guy who wrote the schlock-heavy Serendipity) flounders through a difficult topic with little or no pause for self-examination.

When Gellar and Baldwin first meet, he immediately wins her over simply by scribbling into a book “What’s your drink pumpkin?” Whether this is to be seen as a representation of his charm or a nod to his childish nature when seducing younger women is left unclear. In fact, though most of the clips of their relationship involve them discussing their age difference (“I’ll be three years sober in May”/”I’ll be three years legal in May”), it never feels as if the topic is breached successfully. Perhaps this is due to a failure on the actor’s parts, but while Gellar’s performance is no revelation, the plot doesn’t entirely rest on her shoulders.

A ploddingly obvious soundtrack doesn’t help, and neither do two staple “office buddy” characters, an “evil” boss ripped straight from the pages of The Devil Wears Prada, and a bevy of painful one-liners (“M.D. – My Dad.”). Baldwin emerges no worse for the wear, though he has begun to deliver his lines in a halting William Shatner tone by the time the final credits roll. The inclusion of T.S. Eliot’s quote “Most editors are failed writers. But so are most writers.” is the cleverest line of the movie… though it serves as much more of a condemnation of Klein’s efforts than he may suspect.

Zach’s Rating: F
Perfect For: Someone who’s really just that in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar
Stay Away if: Just the thought of Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar making out creeps you out even a little bit

To purchase Suburban Girl, visit Amazon
For more reviews by Zach Freeman, visit HubPages

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