Apr 7, 2014

Review: As Cool as I Am (2013)

As Cool as I Am can be summed up as a mash-up of popular coming-of-age tropes. There's nothing exactly wrong with that if it were to shed some new light on these issues or actually develop them. That's where As Cool as I Am fails miserably. There are many conflicts that confront Lucy Diamond but hardly any of them go anywhere.

It also doesn't help that the director fails to properly showcase Claire Danes and James Marsden. I don't think they're the most talented actors in Hollywood but they're not hacks either. As Cool as I Am could have used some additional takes to improve the situation but as a result it's botched and looks rushed.

Sarah Bolger is Lucy Diamond and she does an alright job in the role. She's a sympathetic character who takes comfort in cooking. Her parents (Danes & Marsden) had her when they were teenagers so it was a bit of a struggle for them. Chuck Diamond is away for months at a time since he's a lumberjack. He's meant to be tough and he holds old-school family values. So no working moms and certainly no daughter having sex with boys.

Lainee Diamond secretly holds a job against her husband's wishes and it can be said that she's pretty flirtatious when it comes to men. Her relationship with her daughter is a bizarre one though. The dynamic is switched, with Lucy being the mother figure in the house and Lainee being the daughter. Lainee is irresponsible and a little airheaded so it forced Lucy to grow up quick and take on more responsibility. It's an interesting set-up if you ask me but it's spoiled by the script.

What As Cool as I Am is extremely guilty of is manufactured drama. A lot of the dramatic moments will leave you more confused than actually upset. Everything is perfectly timed to bring about the worst and reactions are blown out of proportion. The climax is particularly cringeworthy in this regard.

Max Mayer did not set out to make a bad movie. I remember liking his previous effort which was Adam. That was back in 2009 though. He didn't write As Cool as I Am though may have something to do with it. All the same, the direction of some of the main characters can't be excused. The onslaught of  coming-of-age problems is also problematic and as a result, the resolution just doesn't have the intended impact.


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