In 1991 my buddies and I watched “Pump Up The Volume” maybe 10 times. It defined the six month period of my life when I felt rebellious, angry at my parents, and wanted to scream at everyone for how stupid and insignificant they were. Of course I didn’t let on. That would’ve taken guts – the kind of guts only Christian Slater had. It was with these memories racing through my head that I saw New Waterford Girl, Quebec-born director Allan Moyle’s latest teen pic and though it wasn’t what I expected (i.e. it’s no PUTV) I definitely had a good time.
Moonie Potter (Balaban) is a 15-year-old “troubled youth” trapped in New Waterford, Nova Scotia and looking for a way, any way, out. It is only when a new girl moves to town and is immediately despised by the natives that opportunities for Moonie’s escape arise. Never stooping to the lows of late John Hughes, New Waterford Girl is a touching ode to the confusing world of high school, an entirely different place when set in a small town as opposed to the big city. Like the Swedish import F*****g åmal, New Waterford Girl keenly exposes the falsities of the teen fables hitting the big screen lately. And unlike a lot of teen comedies this film is not merely a guilty pleasure – the proof is in the laughter and spontaneous applause that erupted in response to the pitch-perfect script. Rather than trying to sell the classic teenage budding romance story the film focuses on the efforts of two girls out of place in their surroundings, making the best of their time in captivity. I will resist the urge to give away the best jokes and make out like I am the gifted writer for that honor belongs to former New Waterford citizen, Tricia Fish. Fish knows just what it’s like to grow up in a small town and communicates this effortlessly. This is a movie worth seeking out. At the time of this writing the picture had yet to be picked up by an American distributor despite developing a strong buzz at Sundance, presumably due to its limited appeal to non-Canadians. This is unfortunate because it will only be widely seen in Canada if it is a hit in the U.S. first (Canadians notoriously need south-of-the-border validation before supporting home grown product). I would think the themes of small town fever, Catholic guilt, and alcoholism would appeal to many Americans. Not to mention the two leads actresses are babes.