|Qfest Film Review: Sassy Pants|
posted by Valerie Temple on Jul 24, 2012 10:00am | comments
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Valerie Temple is the Programming Manager of Bryn Mawr Film Institute,
as well as a filmmaker, video producer and writer whose work has
appeared on such sites as The Awl. This is her first Qfest and she is
super excited about it. You can follow her on Twitter or stalk her on Facebook.
The inelegance of that nebulous period in life where one makes the transition into adulthood can make for some seriously compelling cinema. It’s a stage we all go through and we can all relate, although some tales of nascent independence are much more dramatic than others. In her debut as a director, Coley Sohn (who played “Slapped Girl” in the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray) puts a new spin on the classic “coming of age” story with this wickedly funny romp about a tentative teen named Bethany who must go to extremes to divorce herself from her mother’s controlling grasp.
Although secretly interested in fashion, Bethany (Ashley Rickards, known for her starring role on MTV’s Awkward.) is forced by her mother into to taking dull accounting classes online after earning valedictorian honors from her two-student home school class. The mother (a dementedly chirpy Anna Gunn), still smarting from a public sex scandal involving her now out-and-proud ex-husband, lives only for her children and tries every tactic in the book to prevent her daughter from leaving the nest – including a particularly humiliating display while removing the girl from a neighborhood house party. After enduring a staged intervention to discuss her non-existent behavior problems, an emboldened Bethany grabs a backpack and heads for her father’s place, in search of a new life.
In a bit of stunt casting, Haley Joel Osment – the little kid from The Sixth Sense and A.I. - appears as the otter twink boyfriend of Bethany’s father (Diedrich Bader – another amazing comic talent). Although Osment shows enthusiasm in the role, just the sight of the former child star sporting a lip ring, booty shorts and a Kate Gosselin haircut caused peals of laughter from the audience. Luckily, Osment gamely handles the role of the martini-swilling young lover, delivering laughs long after the shock of his appearance died down.
With its impressive production value, memorable performances and outrageous, yet strangely universal story line, Sassy Pants might just be one of the best films to be included in the festival. It was one of my favorites, at the very least.