An Utterly Charming Film…
With a kickin’ soundtrack, delightful characters and hot chicks, Adventures in the Sin Bin, delivers strongly in every department. I pretty much found Billy Federighi’s new affair a pleasure from the getgo. The leads were appealing and each were just enough off-centre to give the quirkiness I love in these types of film.
How many ‘coming of age’ films have we seen, and how many have that something extra to keep them fresh and amusing? This is being touted by some as the sickly brother, or poor relation to Rushmore, but, that was made in 1998 with what I’m assuming was a comparatively larger budget, adding the likes of Bill Murray and Olivia Williams to offer heavy-weight support. Sin Bin may not be as clever as Wes Anderson’s classic, but it certainly kept me as well entertained as Rushmore did. Maybe it helped that I was born in the mid-sixties and was able to put myself fully in the film, but, either way, I thought the movie rocked.
Brian (Michael Seater) is on a scholarship among well-to-do kids., and mom’s away trying to get over dad’s death. Like all kids of his age, sex is pretty much all he thinks about, but, he isn’t getting a chance to act on his crush for the lovely Suzie (Emily Meade). He’s always kept busy lending out his unlikely passion-wagon, known to all as the “Sin Bin.” This has made him popular among his friends, but one in particular takes him under his wing. The tall, slim, camp figure of smooth-talking Tony (played brilliantly by Bo Burnham), who tries to help him with his virginity problem, but at the cost of premium-time usage of the messy van. Tony has two girls on the go, but, one is the focus of Brian’s affection, none other than Suzie, which eventually causes problems.
Brian’s wayward brother, Benny (Brian Petsos) comes back on the scene to babysit his younger sibling, which makes for some interesting situations. Then there’s the neighbor, local cop, Officer Totsch (played hilariously by O Brother, Where Art Thou? star, Tim Blake Nelson), who tries to keep an eye on the brothers, but, not always being welcomed. The gorgeous Emily Meade’s performance was also good as Brian’s dream girl, Suzie.
The 60’s soundtrack really made a huge difference to Adventures in the Sin Bin, helping underline Christopher Storer’s script and Billy Federighi’s able direction. The acting was spot on by the cast, who helped maintain the films charm. It was populated with thoroughly likable characters, who I mostly managed to connect and empathise with. As mentioned, perhaps understanding the era helped with that.
Moreover, I don’t believe you have to be of-an-age to get Adventures in the Sin Bin, or enjoy the humor, which contained some classic lines, with one that particularly stood out, where the Deputy was trying to offer help to Brian, by telling him he should come to a group session to talk about “God and shit,” in that way Tim Blake Nelson does, with his excellent deadpan delivery.
Recommending this indie film is one of the easiest tasks I’ve had in ages. Go see it!
Review by Nav Qateel, Film Critic
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