Summer Eleven

| May 4, 2011

It’s hard not to roll your eyes at the plot of Summer Eleven: the story of pre-teen girls and their final summer before middle school, though fraught with family difficulties as it is, is difficult material for anyone’s palate (probably even pre-teen girls), as it so easily turns into cliches. Not to mention, in a world with real suffering and genuine troubles, the paltry, shallow concerns of eleven year olds can really only make one’s stomach turn.
The girls are all cute enough. None of them is actress enough to hold a close-up, but all are sweet and adorable. Valerie Mahaffey and Adam Arkin have likeable enough roles in the film, but that is as far as the acting goes. Which is unfortunate, because if the film had actors who really captured your attention, it might make the story more emotionally relevant.
The plot follows four girls with fairly stereotypical family issues. One is an aspiring child actress, Vanessa, (Alice Ziolkoski), whose mother (Mahaffey) always tells her to “nail” her auditions. Though at first she appears to be a typical stage mom, it is later revealed, poorly, that acting is truly Vanessa’s passion. The most adorable little girl of the four, Lizzie (Meaghan Hughes), has a brother at war, and he returns home disabled and dismissive. The best actress of the group is Sarah Butterworth, who plays Jess, the only character in the movie with dimension. Jess is a sweet, brave girl and Ms. Butterworth distinguishes herself nicely from the rest of the cast, delivering an honest, sweet performance. The final girl, Peri (Sydney Fox), has an unemployed mother who is forced to live in her car with her two children.
The movie ends as flatly as it begins, with resolution to each story that is unearned and unsatisfying. It’s hard to pinpoint whether the problem is the poor film making and low budget or the mediocrity of the acting, but either way, there is nothing that distinguishes this movie from any other dull, predictable family drama.

About the Author:

Heather Trow is a nursing assistant and part-time writer. When she is not writing, she is listening to the popular podcast "NEVER NOT FUNNY". Actually, at any given time, most likely, she is listening to the podcast. It's pretty much all she does besides work. It is her favorite thing.
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