Love That Boy is a charming but slight story|
by Liz Braun
Love That Boy is a demented romantic comedy about an overachiever finding love.
The film opens with amusing flashbacks that show a small child already engaged in keeping track of her achievements in the hope of impressing her mother.
Now in present day, Phoebe (Nadia Litz) is a young adult about to finish university. She is still recording her achievements, and keeps a daunting "to do" list of various things she hopes to accomplish before graduation.
The list includes such things as learning another language, finishing a kayak course, foraging for wild mushrooms, watching every film from the French New Wave movement, writing and editing a children's book, and on and on and on. And on. The woman is obsessed.
Phoebe's annoyed roommate suggests that "get a boyfriend" is something that should be added to the list. Phoebe has no idea how to establish or maintain a relationship, but she tries. She goes out with an appalling guy from school and figures she has the boyfriend thing covered.
And then she actually falls in love. With a neighbour.
He is 14 years old.
Much of the humour in Love That Boy stems from Phoebe's merely average results while completing most of the tasks on her list. In order to watch all those French movies, for example, she has to fast forward almost everything.
Falling in love with her young neighbour opens Phoebe to life and to the world around her. It's as if she gets to fast forward her own emotional life and grow up, almost overnight.
As the teenage love interest, Adrien Dixon is perfect -- no mean feat when one considers that he must play opposite Nadia Litz, who is terrific as Phoebe. But then, filmmaker Andrea Dorfman (Parsley Days) gets smart performances from everyone in the cast, which includes Ellen Page and Patricia 'PJ' Crosby.
There is a wry humour to the proceedings in Love That Boy. Visually, Dorfman's film has a quirky, throw-back look that matches Phoebe's controlled life. The whole thing is charming to look at, wise and funny -- but, alas, slim. Slight.
Not filling. Delicious though it may be, Love That Boy plays more like an hors d'oeuvre than an entree.