There’s usually nothing to rant about when it comes to family films aimed at young teenagers. They are softball, pleasant, semi-sweet attempts at clever filmmaking that appeals directly to their audience and almost nowhere else. So who really cares? The people that love these movies love them, and the people that don’t, don’t. That’s a feat in and of itself – to create art that is virtually uncontroversially.
And then I hear about a new project over at Paramount that Race to Witch Mountain director Andy Fickman might be directing called Gimme a Call. Or at least it’s based off of a young adult series of that name.
According to Variety, the premise is that a high school senior drops her cell phone into a fountain that (through magical realism) renders it unable to call anyone except for the fourteen year old version of herself. Apparently, the character is unhappy with life and needs guidance from the chipper wisdom of her Freshman-year self.
That’s right. A misanthropic seventeen year old needs guidance from when she was truly happy – three years prior. Seriously.
By my count, she’s experiencing a 1/5-Life crisis.
The ridiculous thought that a seventeen year old could have that sort of existential crisis let alone the idea that her mentor through the tough times would be a fourteen year old her aside, what could have happened within that three years to make her so hateful and apathetic toward life. Certainly nothing that could be thrown into a PG flick. I highly doubt she was held up at knife point her sophomore year or fell victim to a Rohypnol-wielding, backward-hat-wearing baseball player her junior year.
Meanwhile…she’s unhappy with life? She’s 18. Her biggest concern is figuring out if she likes strawberry or cherry Lipsmackers. Oh, snap, maybe that’s what her fourteen year old self helps her figure out. SPOILER ALERT: It’s cherry.
And don’t get me wrong. Don’t chalk up this ire to me being an elderly curmudgeon who doesn’t see the worth of the problems of youth. I just find it hilarious that a girl would have had all the answers at fourteen and loses her way completely within a few years. This is like Disney’s The Kid redux. Which, mentioning that, sort of makes me hope that Bruce Willis plays the girl.
Fickman is setting himself up as a major family film presence – after giving us The Game Plan, She’s the Man, coming fresh off Race to Witch Mountain, directing Monster Attack Network for Disney next, and now throwing his hat into the ring for this, 13 Going On 30 2: 13 Going On 18.
Side note: I did my best to find anything about the book (and by that, I googled the name, checked wikipedia, and searched amazon) but couldn’t even find out who writes it. Or anything about it. At all. Is it actually a popular young adult book that happens to have zero web presence? Can someone help me out here?
What do you think? Am I way off here?