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Movie a Day: July 30 “Growing Op”

This is the second in a series of articles in which I will watch and review and new independent film each day for 31 days, at which time I will choose a new theme and begin again.

"Great, maybe they’ll give us all boutique cells in prison."

Growing Op is an independent film which was released in 2008. This movie is a hyperbolic satire of life as a teenager in suburburbia. Stephen Yaffee (a young actor who has yet to ‘hit it big’) plays Quinn, a seventeen year old boy whose former yuppie parents live by a twisted moral code in which growing and selling marijuana is a better way of life than participating in main-stream suburban culture. Quinn’s younger sister runs distribution at the local high school while his parents breed, clone and raise the crop in their house.

Image courtesy IMDB.com

Quinn is an outcast (his sister has made friends and maintains contacts with people her own age through her drug trades) who wishes for nothing more than a family who doesn’t have a home overrun by marijuana plants and who doesn’t keep a pitcher of bat guano in the fridge.

Life becomes complicated when a new family moves in across the street with the kind of pretty girl-next-door Quinn could only have dreamed of and who seems to be vaguely interested in him. When he follows her to high school one day, he ends up deciding that he should enroll and get a real diploma. Up until this point he and his sister, Hope (Katie Boland, primarily of made-for-TV movie fame), have been home schooled by their mother, Diana (Rosanna Arquette – Pulp Fiction), who was once a high school teacher.

Image courtesy Metronews.ca

Once Quinn starts school the usual high school drama ensues loosely following the story-line of never been kissed until Quinn gets exposed for lying about some basic facts about his life to the girl from across the street, Crystal (Rachel Blanchard – Snakes on a Plane, Road Trip, Where the Truth Lies), which temporarily derails their budding relationship.

The story-line really pays off with a twist at the climax when the audience quickly realizes that this isn’t just a meet-cute teenage romantic comedy with overly stereo-typical conniving high school students. There are some marginally funny moments that don’t quite hit the comedic mark, such as when Quinn’s father (Wallace Langham – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) feeds laced quishes to the neighbors.

Overall, however, this is a movie worth watching with an ending that certainly makes the ride worth it.

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