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   Final Film Critique: 
   The Boy With A Thorn In His Side

Mark Jeavons
   Expected Rating: R due to language and
                               some sexual themes
   Distribution: No Exclusive Distribution
   Budget: £5,000 (approximately $8,900 US)
   Genre: Comedy

   Running Time: 93 minutes

   Release Dates:
   Trailer: Click Here
   Review Date: May 15, 2006
   Reviewed By: Monika DeLeeuw-Taylor
Final Score:
How do we critique films? Click Here To See.

"Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player that struts and frets his hour
upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

For Billy Heinlickburger, life just, well, sucks. He is unemployed and lives at home with his crazy German parents, who are constantly nagging at and insulting him. He has no friends, except for Susan, his former flame from school who he happens to run into.

While Susan has a steady job and an apartment, Billy hasn't seemed to move past the high school mentality. He doesn't seem to want to get a job -- except for the fact that his parents are driving him crazy. He still acts rather childish -- for example, while on a "date" with a girl who is constantly on her cell phone, Billy swipes the phone, deep-fries it, and puts it on her plate while she is in the bathroom. He also has vague ambitions of being a writer, artist, or musician, but he isn't that good at any of those things, and doesn't have much drive to get any better.

However, Billy still has feelings for Susan, and having her back in his life gives him just enough incentive to begin to try to make some changes in his life.

Overall, this was an interesting story, and one that I think could apply to quite a lot of people's lives. Making the transition from school to the "real world" can be very difficult for some people, so much so that they never really seem to grow up.

Actor Alec Sedgley did a good job at portraying the rather lazy and childish Billy. He seemed to have a good handle on the frustrations that a young adult can feel at this particular time in life. One knows the importance of having a job, yet being unemployed is often preferable to having a job that is miserable or boring. Morgan Lees as Susan did a good job of portraying the sympathetic and down-to-earth ex-girlfriend, who is trying to be encouraging to Billy, yet is also suppressing some of the old feelings that she once had for him.

Billy is frustrated with his boring life...
...and with his psychotic parents.

Probably the best acting in the film, however, was done by Billy's parents. Billy's dad, Jurgen, walks about the house testing every light bulb, counts his cornflakes in German, wears cotton balls in his ears, and watches nature documentaries of chimpanzees having sex. Billy's mom, Gertrude, knits, and cries, and knits, and cries, and…knits some more. And both of them continuously rant against what a lazy son he is.

Giving another good acting performance was Susan's roommate/possible boyfriend, Felix. When we first meet Felix, he is wearing jeans underneath a silver sleeveless dress and a pink feather boa. Considering that he also speaks with a lisp and prances about the apartment, it's safe to assume that he is probably gay. Though given the fact that sometimes it seems that his flamboyance is very over-the-top, there were times when I thought that Felix might just be putting on a big act to get into Susan's pants. The thing that confused me about Felix's character is that both Billy and Susan indirectly refer to him as Susan's boyfriend a couple of times throughout the film. Given that his character's exact sexual orientation is never really identified, except by suggestion, it seems as though Susan should make it clear at some point what her relationship to Felix is.

One interesting convention that the filmmakers used is documentary-style asides with each individual character, in which they would sit down in front of the camera and answer questions about themselves, their relationship to other characters, and their feelings about these other characters. For instance, when Susan is sat down for her "interview," she is asked why she broke up with Billy in the first place. Her response is, "Because he's an idiot." These moments add some psychology behind each character, and they are more visually interesting than just doing narration. The only problem is consistency. These little interview moments occur only a few times during the course of the film, and then primarily in the beginning. It seems as though it would be more interesting to cut some of these segments down, maybe shoot a few more, and then spread them out throughout the movie.

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