The Young Ones (2001)
Reviewed by: peter martin on 2001-04-05
Summary: Spacked Out with a sunny disposition
Here's a fairly well-made and well-acted teen film that sets up some standard-issue problems and then solves them a little too tidily.

Four friends, aged fifteen and a half (hence the film's DVD title, "Half Past Fifteen") are having familiar problems. One doesn't get along with her stepmother and is sent to live with her uncle, who then tries to molest her. Another girl's father is dying and needs an operation; her mother and uncle openly sleep together. The rape of one girl is linked to her drinking beer for the first time and getting drunk. And so forth . . .

A tough cop with the Anti-Triad Unit sternly lectures the girls. Then his female partner teams up with the girls' male teacher to try to help them.

Each scenario is set up to appear quite dire. Then it is swiftly (sometimes unbelievably) resolved and swept off the screen in time for the next problem to be tackled. Everybody ends up smiling - the young ones are happy to have been taught important lessons by the older ones.

While it's no problem to have a happy ending, it would help if the solutions were more realistic. Nevertheless, the four young girls are appealing, and there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.