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By Doug Brunell | May 9, 2006

“Several Ways to Die Trying” is one of those films that makes you glad you aren’t a teenager anymore. For them, everything seems like the end of the world. In the case of Dart (Dan Van Winkle), it is. His novel is being rejected left and right, and he can’t seem to formulate the perfect suicide note. When Molly (Megan Finnegan) injects herself into his life, he is slow to realize that she is just looking for a friend. He’s a loner by choice, and she’s been ostracized because she got the star football player kicked off the team when she tried to save his life. Dart’s depression is self-made and almost non-existent, while Molly has been doing her best to pretend like nothing has happened to her. Reality will catch up with both of them, however, but it may be too late as love and conflicting emotions threaten to derail both their lives.

There are several things about this film that seem clichŽd, but it still feels fresh enough to keep one’s attention. Finnegan is also a joy to watch. She brings her character to life in such a way that it seems like you almost know her all too well. As for Dart, he’s a boy so wrapped up in his own little world of smug self-superiority that you sometimes wish he would jump off a bridge. He does have moments of humanity, however, that make you realize he’s just your standard seventeen-year-old that’s far too intelligent for his age.

This movie could’ve been a huge bomb, but it is saved by likable characters who behave in believable ways. These two leads seem like teenagers trying to come to grips with their relationship, and that is sometimes painful to watch. It also puts to shame all those teen Hollywood movies that cover the same ground, as this feels far more honest than anything that’s come out of Tinseltwon.

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