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By Doug Brunell | July 11, 2006

First, I must get one little point of contention off my chest. This movie is set in Allentown, PA in 1980. There are two separate scenes where characters either attempt to buy beer or actually steal beer from a corner store. Alcohol in PA, at least at that time, was not allowed to be sold in anything but bars and state stores, so that is strike one. Strike two comes with the actors. For the most part, the actors are all believable, but almost every one of them overacts to the point of distraction at one point or another. This problem is compounded by a story that is sometimes a little too silly and preposterous for its own good. And what is that story?
Twelve-year-old Joe (Soren Fulton) and his friends Tiger (Matt Borish) and Chris (Sam Semenza) are sent to baseball camp for part of the summer. When Joe gets the idea that his parents are taking a trip without him that may somehow involve his older brother, the three boys decide to follow the adults to their destination. Hijinks ensue. The tale is a classic one of children having the sins of their parents visited upon them. Unfortunately, it is marred by moments that take you away from the real meat of the story. Sure, twelve-year-old boys act the fool sometimes, but some of this stuff is just too foolish even for twelve-year-olds. If there is a bright spot here, it is that writer/director Jim Fleigner has created a coming of age tale that ultimately tackles a heavy subject in an interesting way. He’s got the low points in there, and the highs, but instead of doing something totally original, he crafted his story around some of the same elements found in “Stand By Me” (going so far as to recreate some of the same exact characters and scenes — only in different settings and with different props). That weakens the story’s power. Had he just committed to a story that only he could tell, it would have been a far better film. Instead, he tries too hard to summon the ghost of “Stand By Me,” and spends way too much time on “comedic” moments that were never that funny to begin with.

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