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Rod Lott September 8th, 2011

In 1983, I heavily doubt the party kids in Texas were quoting Christopher Walken from "Annie Hall," much less doing impressions of him at all, or having even seen a Woody Allen film. But for the most part, "Skateland" rings pretty true as a portrait of teen angst.


Visually reminiscent of "Dazed and Confused," virgin director Anthony Burns' only lightly comedic coming-of-age drama ambles its way through all the subgenre's touchstones: the questionable fashions, the wall-to-wall Billboard hits, the hook-ups, the hang-outs, the mall jobs, the intoxicants.

Weaving through it all is the misery of wannabe writer Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez) trying to find his place in the world. As college beckons, all he's ever known crumbles: his parents announce divorce, his job at the title site disappears as business wanes.

It's a watchable, competently made period piece, but its events are as lasting as the hairstyles. Fernandez, who barely registered in "Red Riding Hood," shines in a natural performance, but his peers aren't nearly as well-developed as characters. Burns dedicates "Skateland" in the memory of John Hughes, but the movie doesn't feel like John Hughes at all. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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