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MOVIE REVIEW

Second chance can't save `Boy'

Even when viewed in its proper scene sequence, this mess of a teen horror flick is still a waste of time.

February 21, 2007|Kevin Thomas | Special to The Times

If you think reviewing movies is a dandy job, picture this: Feeling duty-bound to devote an evening to revisiting something truly awful because reels were shown out of order -- a little like watching both the dubbed and subtitled versions of Roberto Benigni's "Pinocchio," only worse.

This reviewer attended a 2 p.m. showing of "The Boy Who Cried Bitch: The Adolescent Years" on opening day Friday at the Sunset 5 -- it wasn't made available to The Times in advance -- and no one noticed until 10 p.m. that reels had been stitched together incorrectly. So I gave it another shot.

It would take a lot more than restoring five reels to their proper sequence to improve this movie, which remained incoherent upon a repeat viewing Monday evening, in an otherwise empty, rented auditorium -- to which admission was free to anyone willing to sit through it. Re-ordering the timeline did not, as the filmmakers perhaps hoped, miraculously transform this wretched mess into something approaching entertainment. That would require, not even good, but only average writing and direction, slightly better developed characters and situations, a modicum of logic and at least a vague sense of irony.

A follow-up to a film made back in 1991, "Boy" (written by executive producer Catherine May Levin and directed by Matthew Levin) is the story of a wholly irresponsible, self-absorbed single mother, Adelle (Ronnie Farer), who dumped her troubled 10-year-old oldest son into a mental institution so she could focus on her struggle to become a writer. Six years later, she decides that Steve (Adam LaVorgna, way too old for the part) is ready for a two-week furlough to spend time with his younger brothers on their Easter break from boarding school. Is it any wonder the teenager is seething with resentment?

Steve of course doesn't want to return, yet the movie jumps ahead and he's re-institutionalized, with nary a clue as to how Adelle accomplished this nor why, other than to easily rid herself of the haranguing of an unruly child, she put him there in the first place. Institution? Boarding school? It may be obvious the woman has no interest in being a mother, but little else is.

Before you know it, Steve and another patient easily escape (why didn't he try this long ago?) and head for the home of Ronnie (Susan Porro) -- that she was a former patient at the same institution is spelled out in the media notes but not in the movie -- which marks the beginning of an escalating tragedy.

Questions pile up until the film's perverse ending -- if Adelle is rich enough to buy an oceanfront home in Malibu for a getaway, why doesn't she have servants to tend to her splendid but seedy brownstone, presumably in New York -- the film's sense of geography is virtually nonexistent. How did Adelle suddenly emerge from all that preceded, transformed into a successful, ostensibly well-adjusted human being?

The bigger question is: Why was this amateurish exercise in the self-evident made in the first place?

*

"The Boy Who Cried Bitch: The Adolescent Years." MPAA rating: 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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