Writer-Director: Garth Jenning
Studio: Hammer & Tongs/Paramount 35185
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen color
Audio: English DD 5.1, DD 2.0; Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: Commentary track by Director, Producer & Cast; “Aron” – orig. short film by Jenning that inspired Son of Rambow, “The Making of Son of Rambow;” Theatrical trailer
Length: 95 minutes
A light and delicious family film that makes some worthwhile points about how pop culture can turn on kids. Therefore it’s a surprise to see it carries a PG-13 rating and a notice at bottom of the box saying “Not Recommended for Children.” If I had known earlier it was a British film instead of American I might have seen it in the theaters; I think the Brits handle both humor and coming-of-age stories better. The warmhearted but in many ways quite realistic story centers on two 12-year-olds. One is a troublemaker who has stolen his big brother’s videocam to secretly tape the original Rambo: First Blood in a movie theater. The other is a shy little boy being brought up in a single mother fundamentalist household, who is not allowed to see films or TV, even in the classroom.
After accidentally seeing his new friend’s videotape of Rambo, the boy goes nuts as the “son of Rambow” and ends up starring in a film he convinces his wayward friend to make. Trying to be secretive about their efforts from all the authority figures, the boys have many adventures. The school they attend imports a group of French students and the tallest and most sophisticated of them wants to be in their movie. Eventually many boys and girls in the school end up vying for parts in the film. This second, entirely different, feature from the director of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has fantasy, imagination, slapstick, the ups-and-down of young friendships, and youthful alienation from the powers-that-be. The director’s and producer’s informal discussion with the two young stars is a delight in the extras. One critic mentioned that Stallone gave the film his blessing, and observed that that was probably the only time the actor/director had done anything in good taste.
– John Sunier