HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Leatherface
Grimsby
Caniba
Bedroom, The
Dark Tower, The
Better Watch Out
Beguiled, The
Year of the Comet
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  Alice, Upside Down Life ain't easy when your dad is Luke PerryBuy this film here.
Year: 2007
Director: Sandy Tung
Stars: Alyson Stoner, Luke Perry, Lucas Grabeel, Penny Marshall, Ashley Eckstein, Parker McKenna Posey, Dylan McLaughlin, Bridgit Mendler, Ann Dowd, Jilanne Klaus, Jona Xiao, Boris Kodjoe
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Eleven year old Alice (Alyson Stoner) still grieves for her mother, who died six years ago, when life throws her another curve-ball. Her well-meaning father, Ben (Luke Perry), uproots Alice and her big brother, Lester (Lucas Grabeel), in search of a fresh start. After selling the house where the kids grew up, the family move to Ben's old home town where he opens a music store. Already awkward and insecure, Alice must adjust to a new school and struggles to make friends. She takes an instant shine to perky schoolteacher Miss Cole (Ashley Eckstein) but to her chagrin ends up in a class taught by the rumpled and seemingly curmudgeonly Mrs. Plotkin (Penny Marshall). Amidst a string of calamities and mishaps Alice endeavours to prove she has inherited her late mother's talent by seizing the lead in the school play ahead of fresh-faced rival Pamela (Brigit Mendler). The problem is: Alice can't sing.

Released directly to DVD and cable television Alice, Upside Down is based on a series of children's books written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor that have proven controversial for some, dealing as they do with the complexities of adolescence in a disarmingly frank and intelligent manner. While the film does not include anything too challenging for the average eleven year old, director and co-writer Sandy Tung deserves kudos for addressing the anxieties of the troubled adolescent heroine with skill and sincerity. Having said the conceit of the child heroine talking to camera or imagining a trendy alter-ego is handled better elsewhere, in Ramona and Beezus (2010) for example or even Dear Dumb Diary (2013), while the film also overplays Alice's clumsiness. Scarcely a moment goes by without Alice stumbling, tripping or knocking someone or something over, frequently accompanied by a wah-wah-waah music cue that just feels forced.

Where the film does succeed is in dealing sensitively with themes like bereavement and social anxiety, offering genuine insight into the psychology of this wounded young girl. In a nicely understated fashion, at odds with the slapstick humour, it becomes apparent Alice is obsessed with befriending Miss Cole because she reminds her of her late mother, even going so far as to try and set her up with Ben. Yet as the plot unfolds we grow to understand that while she may not have the teacher she wants, she has the teacher she needs. Veteran actress and director Penny Marshall, one-time star of Seventies sit-com Laverne and Shirley, gives a charming and gentle performance as the outwardly crotchety yet kindly Mrs. Plotkin and when her personal arc takes an unexpected turn only the most hard-hearted will remain unmoved.

Although episodic and frankly slow, Alice, Upside Down mines some insight and even the odd laugh from situations recognisable to adolescents the world over: social embarrassment, forgotten homework, thwarted dreams, humiliation at the school play, culminating in Alice's toe-curling audition that stands as the film's most successful stab at comedy. Actress, singer and dance machine (seriously, look up her YouTube videos) Alyson Stoner makes for a personable heroine exhibiting an early instance of the charisma and vulnerability apparent in her later roles in Camp Rock (2008) and Step Up 3D (2010). Another future Disney teen idol, Brigit Mendler, has an early role here and is similarly winning as the school prima-donna whom the script wisely avoids characterizing as the clichéd mean girl. Mendler went on to pop stardom and headlined the cult Disney teen film Lemonade Mouth (2011). Speaking of teen idols, fans of teen soap Beverly Hills 90210 (in its original incarnation) might get a kick out of seeing ageing poster boy Luke Perry more or less playing a middle-aged update of his original screen persona.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 635 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: