In his memoir about four high school buddies, set at some unspecified time in the recent past, scriptwriter-turned-helmer Larry Golin daringly submits a typecast quartet -- the college-bound Jew, the Italian son of a Mafioso, the black athlete and the artist from a broken home -- who move from middle-class Westchester into a fixer-upper basement.

In his New York-set coming-of-age memoir about four high school buddies, set at some unspecified time in the recent past, scriptwriter-turned-helmer Larry Golin daringly submits a typecast quartet — the college-bound Jew, the Italian son of a Mafioso, the black athlete and the artist from a broken home — who move from middle-class Westchester into a fixer-upper basement in the Bronx. After endless films that bend over backward to deny ethnic stereotypes, it is almost refreshing to see them reinvented. Competent cast and tension between kids’ implosive intensity and pic’s nostalgia-softened distance could woo cable auds.

Each of the four passes through his respective crisis in secret, bouncing off the angst of the others. Vivo (Jerry Ferrara) mistakes inhumanity for manhood, while Schiek (Nashawn Kearse) fakes a successful major league tryout and leaves town. Meanwhile, Rob-O (Badge Dale) loses the sexual favors and patronage of his career-gal mistress (Elizabeth Keener) when she discovers he’s still in high school. Only central character and creator surrogate Ike (Max Greenfield) is granted a girl, a future and ability to glimpse into pals’ troubled psyches.

Cross Bronx

Production

The Wally Don presents a Boating Car production. Produced by Cory Concoff. Executive producer, David Berrent. Directed, written by Larry Golin.

Crew

Camera (color, 24p), Daniel Aranyo; editor, John Nein; music, Trancenders; music supervision, Michael Solomon. Reviewed on cassette at Tribeca Film Festival (NY, NY), April 29, 2004. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Max Greenfield, James Badge Dale, Jerry Ferrara, Nashawn Kearse, Dania Ramirez, Barry Primus, Elizabeth Keener.
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