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Suburban Girl
cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin, Chris Carmack, Vanessa Branch, and Maggie Grace

director: Marc Klein

97 minutes (12) 2007
widescreen ratio 16:9
Lions Gate DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
There are a formulaic set of ingredients to the rom-com movie: a dash of beauty in the leading lady, some relationship intrigue and conflict, the obligatory moments of serious reflection and of course the happy ending, etc. Suburban Girl has all of these bar one. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar - still best known as the high-kicking enemy of the undead from TV's Buffy, The Vampire Slayer - Suburban Girl tries to be a fun film with serious undertones. Gellar plays Bret, a 24-year old editorial wannabe who falls for the twice-her-age Archie, wonderfully portrayed by the excellent Alec Baldwin. His role in this movie could be described as self-depreciating.

Individually, each of the lead stars put across very competent performances, but it is the relationship with the young Bret and significantly older Archie, which is supposed to underpin the whole movie, only to serve as its Achilles heel, which leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction. Firstly, the idea of these two getting together is simply not plausible, not even within the poetically licensed world of the movies. Secondly, Gellar is supposed to be 24 years old here. She's not and it is obvious.

This is clearly aimed at the 20-40 female demographic and for that market it works okay. Suburban Girl chunders along for nearly 100 mins without breaking into a sweat, the comedy is a tad garrulous and can sometimes try to be just that bit too clever. Most of the serious action centres on Gellar and Baldwin - and despite the issues with the believability of their relationship, director Marc Klein does a nice job in extracting fine performances from both of the film's main stars.

Gellar's character goes through the typical states experienced in a rom-com leading lady's life and the plot is rather predictable, but the distraction of some great cinematography in New York City keeps the viewer watching. And therein lies the overall problem with Suburban Girl. It is not the film or the story that hold your attention, but the acting, soundtrack, and cinematography. It can be boring at times with the gratuitous use of montages, an insult to the intelligence of most viewers with IQs in double figures. I guess the fact this went straight to DVD, and wasn't another Love, Actually, or Something's Gotta Give, tells its own story: good not great. Oh, and I won't tell which of the ingredients outlined at the start are not in this movie - I don't want to spoil it for you.

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