I expected a funny comedy, the DVD cover art says, 'Violently Funny,' 'Laugh Out Loud Funny, entertaining and moving,' 'Wonderful,' and 'Tender.' The film inside isn't exactly any of these things. It is a coming of age film set in 1979 with the backdrop of some incredibly dysfunctional adults. No, I'm sorry; I laughed a little at the beginning, but then was just left sad after the half way point passed.
The film starts off quirky and interesting. I love film that tries new things, sets up a different style, hides things from the viewer, and uses unusual music. All there in a wonderful mix during the first 30 minutes. At first I couldn't place the setting year (later in the film I discovered it is 1979, shown in a very pointed manner), so that was a bit unsettling. Two different families are shown and their relationship is unveiled slowly and wonderfully. There are a number of jokes that are genuinely funny. At about midpoint the film starts to devolve into lies, cheating, foul language, standard melodrama editing and filming, and the characters just become less and less believable and lose my connection with them (save the two lead characters, best friends Adrianna and Scott).
Sadly as this film lost my interest, I started to notice horribly sloppy editing and continuity. Normally these things just pass by, I enjoy a film, I'm engrossed in the story, and continuity, unless grossly bad, just slips past. Not here, the story line got so bogged down that I started noticing all these problems. I noticed way too many cuts where somebody would have their hand up to their mouth and an immediate reverse cut with their hand down; cigarettes that change length immediately; or facial expressions that change too quickly during a cut.
The cast. Rory Culkin (yes he has a famous brother) as Scott was good, as a more or less clueless teenager. Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew) as Adrianna was radiant, and did a wonderful job - just snotty enough to her best friend Scott, and then just exactly nice enough. Alec Baldwin as Scott's father, was a pig, pretty much as he always plays - he was a mix of Schwetty from SNL and his 30 Rock character. Jill Hennessy (Law and Order, and Crossing Jordan) as Scott's mother was decent. She was a little bit crazy, a little bit caring mother. Cynthia Nixon Adrianna's mother (Sex and the City) was sometimes amazing, sometimes just awful - her New York accent slipped in and out a lot. Timothy Hutton as Adrianna's father was just so dirty - looked like he never washed his hair the whole time. Bottom line, its more or less an all star cast. There wasn't a lot of chemistry between these characters, except Scott and Adrianna.
The film was too long by a good 30 minutes. The first 30 minutes were excellent. The last 15 were very well done. There was 45 minutes where the film kind of lost its way.
The film is rated R. There are sensuous moments with no nudity; a fair amount of strong language; and s small amount of violence. This film might be acceptable for slightly younger viewers. The themes are somewhat mature.
The DVD includes a fairly long list of bonus features. The alternate ending is just plain awful. I've never seen a DVD where the alternate is 19 minutes, where 18 minutes was exactly the same as the original film. There is 20 seconds that is new or different. The voice over with the director and a few others is just plain annoying. Clearly the director loved the script written version that is the alternate. Frankly, this is a huge waste of time, the released ending is exactly the right ending. There are a series of deleted scenes. Again, I had a hard time seeing what is different, other than extensions of what was included in the released film.
Based on the true childhood experiences of director Derick Martini, Lymelife is the coming of age story of 15-year old Scott growing up in suburban Long Island. While caught up in his first love, Scott watches the relationships of his parents and their neighbors slowly crumble as they try to keep up with the changing times and expectations of the 1970s. Critically acclaimed, Lymelife features a magnificent ensemble cast, with incredible performances that make you laugh and cry along with them.