15-year-old soccer prodigy Sara Davis (Leah Pipes) just can't seem to find any extra time in her hectic high school life. Between National-level soccer practice, dance team tryouts, high school pressure, and the separation of her mother and father, Sara is busy enough to put any Senior Corporate Executive's schedule to shame. Throw boys and a soccer-obsessed father (Gilmore Girls' Scott Patterson) into the mix, and you've got a recipe for which social disaster is imminent.
Following in the footsteps of movies like "Bend it Like Beckham" and "She's the Man," this teenage drama uses the fast-paced world of soccer as a back-drop to the metamorphosis of a young girl in search of a way to reign in her out-of-control life. With the addition of actors Lalaine (Sara's witty friend), Scott Patterson (Sara's father), and "Spy Kids" star Daryl Sabara (stealing the show as the film's comic relief), the film certainly has a lot going for it out of the gate.
Now, I know that a film like this is not targeted at my particular demographic (this site does have the word 'fodder' in the name, after all), so to give the flick some sort of justice I decided to interview my daughter, who is on the cusp of the age of 13. What follows is her reaction, and grading, of the movie:
- The Humor: while not overtly as comedic as something like "She's the Man," the film did have some genuinely funny moments, especially from Daryl Sabara, who actually stole the spotlight whenever he appeared on camera.
- Replay-ability: My daughter has put this on her shortlist of movies she can watch over and over again. Given her current schedule of trying to manage homework and sports (and - sigh - boys), the story strikes enough of a chord for her to warrant going back to it again and again (she's already queued it up for this weekend, in fact).
- The Story: While the story does compel her, she felt like there should have been more scenes between Sara, her friend Tutti, and the boy she begins dating, Josh. She also felt like the build-up to the Prom fell flat upon execution and could have used more scenes at the actual dance.
Pre-teen reviewers grade: B-
Parent's Final Word
This movie has an amazing production team and a cast of actors that deliver well, so much so that I wondered, after it was all said and done, how the flick could have fallen just shy of its dramatic intention. Just take a look at the roll call:
- Actor: Scott Patterson (Luke on "Gilmore Girls")
- Actor: Lalaine ("Lizzie McGuire," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer")
- Actor: Daryl Sabara ("Spy Kids")
- Cinematographer: Paul Ryan ("A River Runs Through It," "The Horse Whisperer")
- Editor: Mitch Stanley ("Jarhead")
- Supervising sound editor: Bruce Lacey ("Star Wars")
- Soundtrack: Hilary Duff, Howie Day, The Bangles, The Romantics
And yet somehow the revelations, changes of heart, and anticlimactic soccer finale (my wife turned to me 30 minutes before the movie was over and actually told me what was going to happen at the end; she was dead on) serve to undermine a heartfelt message that actually might have played better under more capable hands.
That said, the movie serves as a perfect launch pad for family discussion on how a teenager can better handle and balance their hectic lives of schoolwork, sports, and the pressures that come from over-eager parents.
If you have a young girl at home, don't let the stuffy words of an adult keep you from ordering this one. By my daughter's words alone you can see that the movie fits perfectly into its niche as teen entertainment with a message. After all, it's not you who will be wearing this one out in the DVD player.
"Her Best Move" is available through the film's official website.