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Comedy Movies - My Summer Story

My Summer Story
Charles Grodin, Mary Steenburgen, Kieran Culkin
Directed by Bob Clark
MGM Home Video 2006
85 minutes

My Summer Story is the story of a summer in the life of a young boy, Ralphie Parker (Kieran Culkin). From the last day of school to the search for the "killer spinning-top", the story in this family comedy DVD harkens back to an earlier, more naive time.

Naiveté aside, My Summer Story was a real stinker. Why? There are many reasons, but for starters, from the opening credits, until the last scene, there is an annoying voice-over that narrates the entire story.  It is as though the director thinks we are too stupid to follow along. We never see the old man to whom the voice belongs, and it just doesn't make sense.

Next, the performances in this family comedy DVD range from adequate to poor. Mary Steenburgen convincingly portrays the ditzy mother who wants to collect free dinnerware. Charles Grodin on the other hand, gives a dreadful performance as the father in the story, demonstrating only that he knows how to raise his voice really well. As for Culkin, he gives an adequate performance but overacts in certain scenes. The other supporting characters in My Summer Story are laughable, with the schoolyard bully being pathetic rather than scary, and Ralphie's gang of friends being hammy actors.

The final reason My Summer Story doesn't work is the story itself; it isn't interesting.  I didn't care what happened, and I didn't buy it.  The main characters weren't endearing, and they didn't have enough depth.

There were two redeeming qualities to this movie. The first was the 1950's set and costumes. This aspect of the film was really well done. The second redeeming quality was the fact that My Summer Story only lasted 85 minutes (Amazon thinks it lasted 109 minutes....)

Carolyn Genge

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