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Oh, horrors -- another nasty teen tale

February 19, 2007|Kevin Thomas | Special to The Times

Even more unappetizing than its title, "The Boy Who Cried Bitch: The Adolescent Years" is at least all of a piece. It is terrible in every aspect -- wretchedly written, directed with a ham fist (by Matthew Levin) and over-acted. As the title suggests, the film is a sequel -- the original was released way back in 1991 -- and both were written by Catherine May Levin. The film is further hampered, if such were possible, by incoherent continuity, suggesting either incompetence or some drastic trims.

In the first film, in which Adrien Brody has a supporting part, the title character is an incorrigible 12-year-old who focuses much of his rage on his mother, who in turn commits him to various institutions, where he is submitted to ineffectual therapies and is molested by an adult patient.

In this film, the mother, Adelle (Ronnie Farer), allows the 16-year-old son (Adam LaVorgna, way too old for the part), now called Steve instead of Dan -- maybe this film is not to be taken as a literal sequel? Whatever -- to return home on a furlough so he can spend Easter with his younger brothers, 15-year-old Mitch (Baird Wallace) and 14-year-old Jody (Mark Richard Keith).

Bad mistake, but then Adelle is a wholly ineffectual, irresponsible woman, an heiress who lives in a splendid but shabby New York brownstone, where she has devoted her life to an unsuccessful struggle to become a writer.

Steve arrives in an understandable state of anger, which intensifies at every turn. Meanwhile, Mitch, a good student with artistic leanings, slides into a lethal cocaine addiction. The remarkably normal and sweet-natured Jody strives to play the family peacekeeper, an impossible task.

It may well be that Steve may have always suffered from mental illness, but Adelle certainly has exacerbated it. Intentionally or otherwise, the film has a particularly nasty, perverse coda, but is way too amateurish a production to sustain it or to wring any irony from it: Once fate has finally neutralized Steve, Adelle is transformed into a chic, confident successful woman.

"The Boy Who Cried Bitch: The Adolescent Years." Unrated. Strong violence, language; unsuitable for children. Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes. Exclusively at the Sunset 5, 8400 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 848-3500

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