March 29th, 2014

SUMMER FLING (1998) ** ½

Jared Leto stars as a young Irish teenager in the ‘70s. When his father (Gabriel Byrne) goes away for the summer, he leaves him in charge of the house. He fritters his time away with his best friends (one of whom is obsessed with Elvis) and gets a crush on an exchange student, played by Christina Ricci. Leto also has a thing for two chicks that live nearby, but he can’t quite decide which one he should go after.

Summer Fling is a harmless little coming of age story. It’s not exactly great or anything, but it’s much more watchable than these sorts of things usually are. I guess that’s because the cast is so well-rounded. Byrne is pretty good in his brief scenes (he also co-wrote the script) and Stephen Rea has a funny cameo as a taxi driver. I just wish Ricci’s part was bigger because she was excellent.

I will say the subplot about Leto’s mom (Catharine O’Hara) and her various political causes sorta stop the film cold. O’Hara isn’t bad you understand, but her character is pretty grating. Plus, Leto’s Irish brogue leaves something to be desired. (The flick could’ve been called My So-Called Accent.) On the plus side, there’s a smattering of nudity here and there, which keeps things interesting.

AKA: The Last of the High Kings.