Parents' Guide to

Driving Lessons

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Ron Weasley and the trite coming-of-age story.

Movie PG-13 2006 98 minutes
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Evie is reportedly based on writer-director Jeremy Brock's experiences working for Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and this underwhelming film makes terrible fun of the former grand dame. Prone to reciting Shakespeare and urging Ben to explore his "creativity," Evie is equally adept at vulgarity. Her frustration is understandable: Once accustomed to a certain respect during her heyday, she's now relegated to performing for herself in her back yard. She's peculiar and sometimes alarming, but for Ben, her large house -- cluttered with books and papers and memorabilia from a seemingly exciting career -- is increasingly preferable to his own airless home.

Ben's "growing up" takes a most pedestrian form during his trip with Evie -- he learns to drive, of course, as he also takes responsibility for Evie (and, naturally, comes to appreciate her courage) and even finds a way to lose his virginity with Bryony (Michelle Duncan), the pretty, apparently very bored twenty-something woman who greets Evie in Edinburgh. On his return home from his road trip, Ben appears not to have learned a single "lesson." He rejoins his mother, taking his place on stage as a tree. The fact that he still needs saving -- after an entire movie's worth of instruction and rescue from assorted women -- suggests that Ben is well on his way to becoming his father after all.

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