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Parents' Guide to

Summer Night

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Millennial dramedy full of smoking, drinking, drugs.

Movie NR 2019 94 minutes
Summer Night Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This dramedy will make teens look forward to their next decade -- and make parents appreciate that they never have to go back. With its focus on a large group of friends who meet up at a local music venue and deal with relationship dramas, it's kind of like if Richard Linklater directed He's Just Not That Into You. While Summer Night clearly intends to have that Dazed and Confused feel, there are just too many characters to care particularly about any of them. And, although it seems like each is going through something transformative, it doesn't seem like anything really gets resolved over the course of the story's one night -- making the film pointless. In the end, it's like going out with a bunch of people you just met and all they do is whine about their personal problems -- you just want to escape.

Actor-turned-director Joseph Cross and writer Joseph Jolliff seem to have one goal in making this film: getting it played at the SXSW Film and Music Festival. The music feels like it was cherry-picked to appeal to the Austin crowd, as does the youth-focused story with its Texas feel (even if it was filmed in Georgia) and a music venue named The Alamo (a reference to Last Night at the Alamo, a film credited as the origin of the Austin filmmaking community). It really feels like Cross wants viewers to recognize how cool it is through the indie music acts he includes and how much screen time they're given. The concert performances are worked into the film by having four of the characters perform in the various bands, but the actors look unnatural and awkward next to the real musicians. As for those actors: They all deliver fine performances, but somehow it comes together like an acting class exercise. You can almost hear each vignette close with "aannnnnndddd ... scene!"

Movie Details

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