Wednesday, 19 February 2014

GROWING OP: A New Approach to Coming of Age

Director: Michael Melski
Starring: Steven Yaffee, Rosanna Arquette, and Rachel Blanchard
Release Date: November 2008
Genre: Comedy, Young Adult Drama
Running Time: 100 mins.

There are so many different approaches to the ever popular coming-of-age story, but this one is actually different, I swear. Feeling alienated from his peers, home-schooled eighteen year old Quinn longs to get out into the world. Knowing his parents will never agree, he secretly enrols at the local public school where he hopes to make an impression on the new girl. There's just one problem - he finds it difficult to connect with anyone while hiding the fact that he lives in a grow-op run by free-spirited parents who feel the institutionalization of education is a tool of fascism. Worse, people are starting to get suspicious of his "I've been away with the bird flu" cover story. Obviously, it's only a matter of time before someone digs a little too deep.

Like many coming-of-age stories, there is no clear cut right and wrong here, which means no good guys or bad guys - just people doing what they think is best. But this may be one of the very few films in existence that portray "potheads" as exceptionally intelligent folk. So if you have ever rolled your eyes, bored by another typical "stoner flick" featuring an abundance of "surfer" vernacular and/or ridiculous plans that can only fail, you may want to try something new with Growing Op.

The story itself is original and fun, but I have to admit the ending struck me as odd and I was a little disappointed. In hindsight however, I feel the need to give it some credit. So what if it did not go in the direction I expected? It did provide some closure, a life lesson, and stayed true to its values (which I think have something to do with living free while staying honest...).

It was just the right amount of predictable; I never felt thrown for a complete loop, and I enjoyed my experience with it. I maintain that it is an interesting perspective on growing up, and what that really means.