The Wheeler Boys
is one of the least sexy
films to revolve completely around sex and violence ever made.
suppose that the filmmakers do deserve some sort of credit for refusing to
exploit the seamy storyline that they have ripped from the headlines – that
of a club of teenaged boys which made a pact to have sex with as many
freshman girls as possible, gaining points
dependent on the looks of their conquest and
which specific act was
However, one sort of has to wonder, if you are not going to exploit an
explosive subject like that, what really is the point of telling the story?
No one questions the fact that the boys are shallow, superficial and wrong,
so why bother to dramatize their exploits unless you are really going to get
down and dirty with it?
The Wheeler Boys
actually reminds me somewhat of Larry Clark’s Kids, except it is
afraid to get down and dirty in the ways that Kids did. Much if not
all of the shocking things which happen here occur off camera, which
somewhat neuters the premise to seem like it is Kids remade as a TV
is, The Wheeler Boys is a stylishly shot but ultimately slightly
empty coming-of-age drama.
is interesting because this script had serious buzz behind it. In fact the
script won the Netflix “Find Your Own Voice” script competition to win
grants and free film to allow it to be filmed while so many other scripts
never arrive at that point.
what is it, besides its somewhat scandalous subject matter that the judges
saw in this project?
the plus side, co-writer/director Philip G. Flores has a good ear for
natural dialogue, a way of bringing out the most in his cast and an
interesting visual eye. However, on the down side, he takes a potentially
explosive story idea and can barely bring it to a simmer. His male
characters are cartoonish and his female ones are either sluts or doormats
film was made on the cheap with a mostly unknown cast. The only
recognizable faces here are Billy Campbell (of The Rocketeer, Once &
Again and The 4400) in the small and somewhat thankless
role of the title characters’ crippled and bitter father and Portia
Doubleday (Youth In Revolt) as one of the brothers’ pregnant
main thrust of the film is of the Wheeler brothers. Truck (Alex Frost) is
in his late teens and has a pregnant girlfriend. He has been caring for his
younger brother Ted (Lorenzo James Henrie) and their dad for years. To blow
off steam, he hangs out with his buddies who drink, fight, brand each other
and make a contest of nailing as many girls as they can.
film looks at the subtle shift in Ted and Truck’s relationship when the
virginal Ted joins up with Truck’s group. Suddenly Truck sees him as a man
and stops protecting him – allowing Ted to spiral into more and more trouble
and become disenchanted with his older brother because he cheats on his
this all sound familiar, it should, because this is all Indie Screenwriting
101 – rural chapter. It is done with more verve and skill than many, but in
the long run The Wheeler Boys has very little of substance to say –
down to the much too ambivalent final shot.
the evidence of his first film, Flores does have the skill to grow into a
director to keep an eye on. Now he just has to come up with a story
interesting enough to reward our watching.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: July 9, 2010.