In coming-of-age comedy Premature, first-time feature director Dan Beers took on a huge challenge, creating a story evoking memories of some of the funniest films of all time — Groundhog Day, American Pie and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. When you put yourself in this company, you’d better be really good. For director Beers, who also wrote the script with Mathew Harawitz, some things worked and many things didn’t.
Beers was blessed with a great team of actors. John Karna (Bindlestiffs) plays the protagonist who faces a turning point in his life – the day when he interviews for admittance to Georgetown, his parents’ alma mater. He has trouble staying in focus, however, because he is bullied by the volleyball team, his long-time crush starts to show an interest in him, and the interviewer breaks down in tears in the middle of the interview. And then, he wakes up the next morning to re-live the day again, and then again, and again. I lost count how many times.
Another sterling performance is provided by Katie Findlay (The Philosophers, The Killing) who plays the good girl Karna has known since third grade; the girl we all know he should end up with.
Karna’s best friend is played by Craig Roberts (Submarine, The First Time). He artfully plays the adolescent who knows everything there is to know about women and how to get them into the sack, except he doesn’t actually do it that much.
An unlikely mentor to Karna appears in the form of the Georgetown interviewer, played with delightful insanity by Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil). Tudyk’s performance adds fun and pathos and reminds people that it’s not only teenagers who suffer angst.
So with these great actors and proven story lines, why do I have reservations?
The film starts off funny and has a funny ending. The outtakes during the ending titles are hilarious. The problem occurs about half-way through. The ever-repeating-day motif begins to get old. Not enough progress is made on each trip through the day to hold our interest. On one iteration, when the protagonist emulates a more obnoxious version of Ferris Bueller, we start to lose sympathy for him.
There is a fine line between comedy and tragedy. Director Beers lost track of it.
Should you see Premature? If you are a fan of teen gross-out films (premature you-know-what, wet-dreams, and masturbation are major themes in this flick), or you are a fan of Alan Tudyk or one of the other fine actors in this film, add it to your list. Otherwise, pass it by. This is not really a day anyone would want to live over and over again.
IFC Midnight will release Premature in theaters and video-on-demand Wednesday, July 2.
If you do see this film, please share you observations in the comments below.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B000GG4Y4Q,B000BYRCQK,B0009ZE9VW,B005JE7XW0]