There is a basic problem with teenagers in the Lifetime universe, and it has to do with sex. I have created a Venn diagram, which is totally scientific and not at all pulled out of my eggnog-padded butt:
All mentally sound post-pubescent adults eventually reach the point where they must reconcile the fact that sex is fun with the fact that sex can make a baby. This is an especially hard jump for young women, who know they'll probably be extra-screwed should the latter result from the former. Depending on their level of comfort with this discovery, women can either enjoy sex or avoid it completely through satisfying use of Star Trek 'literotica'. From here most will either develop a healthy respect for condoms or a healthy obsession with the idea that Kirk and Spock are bonin' like monkeys all the time. Whatever gets you people off is fine with me, nobody's judging you here. (I find the tension between Scotty and Spock to be way hotter, but that's just me.) What bothers me is that sexually active people fail to make that same connection for their children. Their children remain flash-frozen at prepubescence in their heads, incapable of enjoying the act that created them unless they are tricked into it by icky little sluts or roofie-pushing thugs. No better example of this exists then "Too Young to Be A Dad", which was tailor-made to cater to this particular parental neurosis.
The film begins with some kind of fancy ceremony with the word "HONOR" in giant letters behind a group of high school boys in funny robes lighting candles. Are they Eagle Scouts? Skull and Bones inductees? Who fucking knows, but they are way too young to have sex, that's for sure. Especially too young to have sex is Matt Freeman, the youngest-ever inductee into this clandestine honor society. Matt is played by Paul Dano, AKA Creepy Preacher Boy in They Will Be Blood OR Creepy Nihilist Boy in Little Miss Sunshine, so what the fuck he was doing in this movie I have no idea. From here we pan out to see the lady who is responsible for the type-A personality that has sucked all the fun out of Matt's life. Weeping in the audience is Suzy Freeman, the pushy stage mom of the Freeman clan. There's also a distant daddy figure named Dan and a sassy be-pierced Avril Lavigne named Alex.
The first part of the movie is a bigger tease then a slutty teen on prom night: Alex is all eyeliner and rebellion, makin’ out with her sk8r boi till after midnight and saying that she is going to put off college for a year to save up and buy a car. In the age of college tuition being worth more then Faberge eggs, that doesn’t sound like a bad plan to me. However, her mother uses a series of screaming fits to inform her that she is on the Bad News Train to Knocked-Up Junction and her son is the only bright star left in her sad world. No pressure, Matt! I would have liked the movie more if Suzy had realized how sad it was that she had to push her kids into misery in order to vicariously enjoy their triumphs, but the movie isn’t called “Too Crazy to Be a Mom”, so this plot thread is sadly abandoned.
Meanwhile, Matt is enjoying the poon-magnet status that only an early induction into the honors society can provide. He gets acquainted with a hottie named Francesca. Francesca is a rich girl with good manners who aspires to go to medical school, so of course she is a secret nympho. She needs a lot of afterschool homework help, which quickly turns into sloppy makeouts as soon as their parent’s backs are turned. I am sure this is meant as a lesson to parents of nerdy teenage boys everywhere: watch them like hawks, because there is always a traitorous vagina laying in wait like a Punjabi trap just out of their field of vision. Francie and Matt enjoy their boring shirts-on making out for a while, and then it’s revealed that Francie isn’t a virgin. Remember: she had sex, and it didn’t kill her, so I think we all know who the slutty teen here is.
She talks Matt into doing the deed, and here is where the movie gets really strange- they’re making out and giggling, having fun, fade to black. The next shot is them laying next to each other in silence, Matt’s face a picture of bleak horror. Dude looks like he just watched Schindler’s List. Later Francie and Matt talk about their feelings and decide that sex is too traumatic to attempt again. If this was an After-School Special, this is probably where the credits would roll.
Their depressing union has, of course, put a bun in Francie's oven. Matt's busy parents, who mostly ignore him to deal with his dramabomb sister, don’t seem like great sources of support. Francesca's parents are equally useless WASPy nightmares who regularly harass her over her appearance and grades. But what better can you expect from a pair of yuppies who give their daughter a name that would embarrass the Fancy Feast cat? Unfortunately Francesca's dad catches her throwing up in the bathroom, and the secret is blown. Suzy has a sit down with Juliana and Francesca's father, whose name I can't remember, so we'll call him Mr. Jangles to keep with the cat theme. Jangles is a businesslike cat (a Top Cat, if you will) and wants the whole matter settled. Matt's family will pay for the incidentals of babyhood, Francie will quietly pop the kid out to be passed on to a waiting home, and everything will keep on rolling as it should.
The only person standing in the way is Matt himself, who is ultra sad that Francesca doesn't want to drop out of school and raise their bastard love child. In Matt's school, teen parents have to attend a compulsory baby boot camp until the kid is born. Apparently, the best way to encourage teenage parents to stay in school is to yank them out of it completely so they can spend all day playing house with they babydaddy in the school gym. Suzy throws a complete fucking fit at the idea of Matt leaving real school, but Matt is pretty firm about going to support Francesca. Matt is honestly a stand-up guy, if a complete fucking moron, and a normal parent would probably be proud of their son's backbone. However, Suzy refuses to have a son that is not in the honor society, so she tells him to go fuck himself and leaves him in the school parking lot.
At this point in the film, Matt becomes an anti-sex evangelist. Anyone who asks him will find out "sex isn't that great". Between this and his uncomfortable post-coital squirming, you have to wonder if he and Francesca even had real sex or if it was some creepy fetish thing that screwed him up for life. Maybe Francesca is hiding a Quaato under her American Eagle hoodie, I dunno. On the other hand, he is WAY INTO BABIES. He loves his school sponsored pretend-baby time, and he even gets an afterschool job to help pay for Francesca's medical bills. This would all be as endearing as the film seems to think it is if it were not for the fact that FRANCESCA DOES NOT WANT TO KEEP THIS BABY AT ALL. Her being forced to play along with the baby-camp farce actually seems a little sadistic when you consider that it will all culminate in her giving the child up and probably never seeing it again.
This is getting too long, so let’s sum it up. Suzy learns to stop being a psycho bitch and loves her son again, just in time for the baby to be born. They go to the hospital and Matt bum-rushes the nursery, falling crazy in love with his baby on the spot. His mom decides that their family should raise the baby together, giving the metaphorical finger to Francesca’s whole family in the process. The Freemans build a nursery, Matt cuddles his new son while playing some Everquest, and an offscreen Francesca must somehow make peace with the fact that her child is being raised by the awkward schlub she tapped for help with her algebra homework. The end!
Rusty pointed out to me that the awesomeness scale is out of 20. This is easy to forget, as most of the films on this blog don't break the single digits. Anyway, this movie was kind of fantastic! I like this movie because it helps illustrate my point about the slutty teens. Also, the sex-hating-baby-loving boy wonder is hilarious to me.
Star Power: 9
I like to think that while they were shooting There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day-Lewis would whisper lines from this movie into Dano’s ear to make his crying and flailing more realistic. You know he’s a dick like that.
This movie is the absolute wet dream of the Lifetime mother: She who cannot believe her son would ever enjoy sex, and is sure that his motive in everything is as pure and good as Jesus Christ himself. If you have ever dated a mama’s boy, this movie will give you invaluable perspective as to why she gives you the stinkeye every Christmas and makes you sleep in separate rooms.
So that's a 31. Not bad. If you're the kind of person who ironically enjoys Blossom reruns you will enjoy this movie, as you enjoy so many things you probably shouldn't. Now I am going to go do something fun for New Years, or I will have to kill myself.