×

Suburban Girl

Despite a faultlessly urbane turn by Alec Baldwin as the lecherous December to Sarah Michelle Gellar's blushing May, "Suburban Girl," a pseudo-sophisticated romantic comedy about the publishing biz adapted from two stories in Melissa Banks' bestseller "The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing," remains strained and artificial. Yet, curiously, the pic's awkward sense of striving reflects the gap between gangly immaturity and wished-for glamor, where much of chick-lit flourishes. Imminent release, timed to cash in on Baldwin's current real-life domestic notoriety (and hilarity-provoking coincidences), could spell respectable box office.

With:
Brett Eisenberg - Sarah Michelle Gellar Alex Knox - Alec Baldwin Robert Eisenberg - James Naughton Chloe - Maggie Grace Jed - Chris Carmack

Despite a faultlessly urbane turn by Alec Baldwin as the lecherous December to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s blushing May, “Suburban Girl,” a pseudo-sophisticated romantic comedy about the publishing biz adapted from two stories in Melissa Banks’ bestseller “The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing,” remains strained and artificial. Yet, curiously, the pic’s awkward sense of striving reflects the gap between gangly immaturity and wished-for glamor, where much of chick-lit flourishes. Imminent release, timed to cash in on Baldwin’s current real-life domestic notoriety (and hilarity-provoking coincidences), could spell respectable box office.

Gellar plays Brett, a naive young assistant editor who constantly second-guesses her work. She inexplicably hangs out with curvaceous best-friend Chloe (Maggie Grace, the first of several unusual casting choices), who seemingly never read a book and whose jaded cynicism has bypassed both wit and charm.

All the while, Brett impatiently pines for absent b.f. Jed, off touring Europe with nary a postcard home (Chris Carmack, in his brief scene, interprets Jed as a clueless fresh-faced pretty boy — making him a weird choice as the significant other to an aspiring editor).

Brett is therefore ripe to fall into the welcoming lap of publishing legend Alex Knox (Baldwin), a well-preserved lothario eager to mentor her in and out of the bedroom. The lovers soon move in together, their lopsided amounts of experience ostensibly providing mutual learning as they exchange routines, banter and literary marketplace acumen.

Pic reps the first directorial outing for scribe Marc Klein, whose previous, derivative scripts were goosed up by highly imagistic helmers like Ridley Scott (“A Good Year”) or Peter Chelsom (“Serendipity”). Klein opts for a more conventional visual approach, often concentrating on well-observed details of upscale Manhattan locations to the detriment of nuances of character and plot.

Opinion will doubtless vary as to the quality and seemliness of the sexual sparks flying between the two stars, fueled by daughter issues(!) on his side and daddy worship on hers. Baldwin’s ironic self-knowledge and flashes of vulnerability (a fascinating reworking of his “30 Rock” persona) dovetail well with Gellar’s wing-testing mixture of bravura and self-doubt.

But helmer/scribe Klein has no desire to push the envelope. Archly uncomfortable encounters between James Naughton as Gellar’s doctor father and his near-contemporary Baldwin are shifted into tragic gear by illness and impending death, Klein choosing easy sentiment over moral ambivalence every time.

Pic is aided greatly by Steven Fierberg’s classy Gotham lensing, thankfully free of veneration for landmarks.

Suburban Girl

Production: An Odd Lot Entertainment production in association with Catch 23 Prods. Produced by Deborah Del Prete, Gigi Pritzker, Daryl Taja. Executive producers, Don Field, Robert B. Sturm, Suzanne Wareen. Co-producer, Linda McDonough. Directed, written by Marc Klein, based on two short stories by Melissa Banks.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Steven Fierberg; editor, Joan Sobel; music, Heitor Pereira; production designer, Richard Hoover; costume designer, Patricia Field; sound (Dolby Digital), John D. McCormick. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Encounters), April 28, 2007. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: Brett Eisenberg - Sarah Michelle Gellar Alex Knox - Alec Baldwin Robert Eisenberg - James Naughton Chloe - Maggie Grace Jed - Chris Carmack

More Film

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Booksmart Director

    Film News Roundup: Olivia Wilde to Direct Holiday Comedy for Universal

    In today’s film news roundup, Olivia Wilde has landed another directing gig following “Booksmart” and revenge thriller “Seaside” and “Woodstock: The Directors Cut” get August release dates. PROJECT LAUNCH Olivia Wilde will direct and produce an untitled holiday comedy project for Universal Pictures with her “Booksmart” partner Katie Silberman. Universal outbid five other studios for [...]

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]

  • Sword of Trust

    Marc Maron on 'Sword of Trust,' Lynn Shelton and Conspiracy Theories

    Marc Maron has interviewed everyone from Bruce Springsteen to President Obama, so he’s probably learned a few things about being a good interview. Of course, as he points out, he generally has over an hour to talk leisurely speak with his guests in his home and draw out stories beyond the public narrative; it’s a [...]

  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The

    Andrew Lincoln's ‘Walking Dead’ Movies to Be Released Only in Theaters

    The first planned movie centered on “The Walking Dead” character Rick Grimes will now run in theaters rather than on AMC. The announcement was made with a brief teaser video played at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, with the video ending with the words “Only in Theaters.” The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures. [...]

  • Jennifer Beals The Last Tycoon

    Jennifer Beals Seeking SAG-AFTRA Board Seat as Matthew Modine Ally (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jennifer Beals is running for a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Beals is best known for starring as Bette Porter on the Showtime series “The L Word” and for her lead role as Alex Owens in the 1983 hit “Flashdance.” She’s starred in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content