“Our Song” is a tamer, barely more tolerable “KIDS” (the horrid 1995 film about a teenager whose goal is to deflower as many virgins as possible) for the new millennium. It’s a film that tries so hard at being lifelike that it forgets to be entertaining.
“Our Song” is the “realistic story” centering on three Brooklyn teens that are all best friends in the local city marching band. There is Maria, a 15 year-old who just found out she is pregnant; Lanisha, her best friend who recently had an abortion and Joycelyn, who is just trying to find a way out of inner-city life, even if it means losing her friends in the process. As we follow these three teens during the closing weeks of summer, we witness how fragile friendships and life can be.
The three main actresses in the film, Save the Last Dance‘s Kerry Washington and newcomers Anna Simpson and Melissa Martinez, do the best they can to save the film. They play their parts with an authenticity that may seem over-the-top for a suburban audience, but actually does its best to represent inner-city life. Despited a few interesting and emotional moments, “Our Song” has virtually no closure, no climax and no reason for audiences to sit through it. The plot goes in circles and we never see anything come of Maria’s pregnancy — in fact we don’t even see her transforming from your everyday 15 year-old to someone who looks remotely pregnant. Maybe if “Our Song” wasn’t a feature-length promotional video for the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band — which is actually credited after the three girls during the opening credits — director/writer Jim McKay (“Girls Town”) could have been able to spend more time developing his main characters. Instead, we treated to the marching band mastering a new song and routine for the Labor Day Parade.
Another one of “Our Song”‘s many downfalls is the jerkiness of the camera. While it was intended to create realism, the result is a headache. Those who had a hard time sitting through The Blair Witch Project for this same reason will find “Our Song” intolerable to watch.
While “Our Song” may not be as in-your-face as “KIDS” (which is actually one of its better features), viewers may lack a connection with these characters. As we wait for something — anything — to happen, the ending is a letdown. Despite the film’s unofficial theme song (The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child,” which plays a handful of times during its mere 96 minute duration) telling us that ‘Things are gonna get easier,’ they don’t.