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My First Mister

Starring Leelee Sobieski and Albert Brooks; Carol Kane, Michael McKean, John Goodman
Screenplay by Jill Franklyn
Directed by Christine Lahti
website: www.paramountclassics.com

IN SHORT: Heavy duty happy ending chick flick. [Rated R due to strong language and sexuality. 109 minutes]

Considering that two thirds of all marriages end up in divorce, we're not sure of how great a percentage of teenboys will be gritting their teeth through this one. Despite the implications of the title, My First Mister is not about FirstSex. Depending on how far you want to take it, you could say the story is about First Love. We're content to call it First Respect, for that is what rebellious babe Jennifer Wilson (Leelee Sobieski, who discusses this film in CrankyCritic® StarTalk) gets from the one adult in her life who pays attention, the older than dad Randall Harris (Albert Brooks). We will take special pains to point out that this is not another in a long line of intelligent and witty Brooks helmed comedies. Actress Christine Lahti sits in the director's chair and manages to get Brooks to deliver the finest dramatic performances he's ever done.

Jennifer sports black and purple hair, goth colors on punk style clothing and has enough piercings to get her stopped at any standard airport check-in. Her parents are divorced. Sylvie (Carol Kane), her mom prefers to view life as a Fifties musicals and seems content to let her kidlet outgrow the expected rebellion. Stepdad Bob Benson (Michael McKean) doesn't give a hoot and real dad Ben (John Goodman) prefers to spend most of his time lost in a cannabis haze. That means, most of the time, Jen is hanging out at the local mall. Her favorite place to plant is in front of Randall's clothing store, a very conservative place which doesn't appreciate punks scaring the customers away.

A very unusual thing happens one day, when Randall makes his usual trip out to shoo the girl away. He asks "what do you want?" and she says "a job." Without missing a beat the terms are laid down. She loses the facial piercings and he'll put her to work organizing the stock room. With a small compromise, things begin to movie. Respect brings responsiility. Responsibility can be abused -- this is not a Cinderella story. While the fantasies of a teenage girl could take this story in directions too unpleasant to even contemplate (unless you happen to be a dirty old man, in which case you'll be disappointed), My First Mister does a 180 and yields a finale we didn't see coming. At its core, it is a family story, through and through.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Title, he would have paid . . .

$5.50

dateflick for the adults. Even with Sobieski in the lead, the story is one that resonates for us old folk.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.