Suburban Girl (2007)

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama / Romance
Image Entertainment || PG13 - 97 minutes - $27.98 || January 15, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-02-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Marc Klein
Writer(s): Melissa Bank (short stories); Marc Klein (screenplay)
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin, Maggie Grace, James Naughton, Chris Carmack


Theatrical Release Date: NA


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director's Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Based on short stories inside Melissa Bank’s “A Girls’ Guide to Hunting Fishing”, Suburban Girl centers on Brett (Gellar), an associate book editor with her sights set on becoming a head editor. One day she meets older and very successful editor Archie Knox (Baldwin) and begins a relationship, one with some father-daughter overtones.

Suburban Girl is a bit of a paradox. If you watch the trailer or read the DVD back cover, it comes across as a whimsical romantic comedy and, fortunately, instead it was a nice/cute coming-of-age story about a girl dealing with relationships, from the much older boyfriend to her father whom she thinks is overly concerned about her. That said, while the movie is fine, it did remind me quite a bit of the superior -- in style, substance and acting – Shopgirl starring Steve Martin (who wrote the novella it is based on) and Claire Danes. Maybe it’s unfair to compare the two, but it’s hard not to notice the similarities.

Marc Klein adapts and directs Suburban Girl with the finesse of, well, a first-time director. His previous (two) writing attempts were actually quite good. 2001’s Serendipity and 2006’s A Good Year are both fine off-beat romantic comedies -- Year especially --, and his writing here is about on par with his previous efforts, but I think in the hands of a higher profile director, this could’ve been an equally higher profiled project.

We still get two talented actors in Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alec Baldwin, a fine supporting cast with Maggie Grace (TV’s “Lost”) and James Naughton (The Devil Wears Prada), and as much as I still love Gellar for giving us “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, I can’t say she quite has the charm of others her age. And for his part, Baldwin plays the alcoholic older boyfriend well without being overly creepy (something so easy for, really, any of the Baldwin Brothers), but at the same time, I think the role was miscast. Don’t get me wrong, for me personally, an older man with a younger woman, is inherently creepy, but at least it wasn’t distracting.

The film was slated for theatrical release and apparently was popular at the Tribeca Film Festival, but went straight-to-DVD instead. Was it a lack of star power? Maybe. Even though Gellar and Baldwin are good actors, they are hardly headliners either.

In the end, Suburban Girl is a nice little comedy and might be worth a viewing for any fans of the short stories, otherwise you can catch this one day on TBS...



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Oddly, there are no deleted scenes or featurettes, but the DVD does include a commentary track with writer/director Marc Klein and a theatrical trailer (which contains a scene or two not in the final feature). In his commentary, Klein fills the time primarily giving advice to other first-time directors like not to shoot in a car or movie theater. He also gives his inspirations from Woody Allen and Ridley Scott (whom he worked with on A Good Year).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen and looks as good as any new romantic/dramedy should. A Dolby 5.1 track sounds nice dispersing the multitude of pop songs while the center speaker gets used for dialogue.



.::OVERALL::.

Suburban Girl isn’t too bad but it’s also a film that I think could’ve been better. Nevertheless, it fortunately does NOT live up to how it was marketed between theatrical trailers and plot descriptions and has more depth than I expected. With maybe a more seasoned director (again, nothing really wrong with Klein’s writing) and perhaps better casting, it had potential. As it stands, it is worth renting just to see the lovely (and brunette) Sarah Michelle Gellar...