Shot on 35mm film in central Florida, “Cat’s Bad Hair Day” is a brief coming-of-age short about the trials and tribulations of Alicia (Paulina Grochala), an awkward thirteen-year-old who is stuck with a self-absorbed best friend (Leanne Littlefield) and an inattentive father (Randy Molnar). Alicia’s fellow junior high school classmates relentlessly tease her. She is chased home by a group of prepubescent boys who scream “better peddle faster titty girl” from their bikes, a boy in her science class draws a well-endowed caricature of her on a desk, her best friend calls her a slut and this is just the beginning of her troubles (there is a reason why almost everyone has traumatic memories of junior high school).
The young Paulina Grochala delivers a surprisingly good performance; her nonverbal cues comprise the best parts of her delivery. These non-dialogue areas of the film are the strongest sections of the short and seem to contain the moments when the directing is most noticeably impressive. While the film’s story could stand to be a bit more substantial, there does seem to be a personal and earnest ring of truth to it. Aesthetically there is little to complain about as the look of the film is by far its strongest virtue. Perhaps the biggest grievance isn’t directly related to the film itself, but the promotion of the short; the project is packaged as if it was an after school special (or, far worse, some kind of Hilary Duff vehicle). Most importantly, the short has the potential to be a great springboard for a more fully developed project. Beginning writer/director/editor Debby Wolfe is obviously talented and off to a pretty good start.