Cherry -- Film Review

Coming-of-age sex comedy isn't American Pie, but it's not The Graduate either.

A coming-of-age comedy that's far too quirky for its own good, Cherry is the sort of teen sex farce that is only more unbelievable for its not pandering to the tired conventions of its genre.

Containing barely a credible moment in its story of a hopelessly awkward college freshman who is apparently irresistible to women of all ages, the film is not likely to be seen by the adolescent male audiences whose fantasies it might inspire.

The central character is virginal 17-year-old Aaron (Kyle Gallner), who embarks on an engineering degree at the insistence of his overbearing mother (Stephanie Venditto) despite his artistic leanings. Settling in at an Ivy League university, he instantly attracts the attention of Linda (Laura Allen), a thirtysomething fellow student with an obviously freewheeling mentality.

Immediately smitten, he soon discovers she has a policeman boyfriend (Esai Morales), with whom she engages in hysterically loud lovemaking, and a troubled 14-year-old daughter (Brittany Robertson) who develops her own crush on him.

The bizarre love triangle lurches forward, with Aaron increasingly drawn into the two women's lives. Meanwhile, he struggles with academic pressures, including a bizarre, metaphorical assignment from a professor to invent a device that will enable its user to walk on water.

Although writer-director Jeffrey Fine is to be commended for avoiding predictable narrative cliches, Cherrytries much too hard to delineate its fairly obvious themes. And though Gallner's realistically ungainly Aaron is a thoroughly fleshed-out figure, the supporting characters smack mainly of being plot devices. Ultimately, the proceedings come to feel more creepy than enlightening.

Opens: Friday, Nov. 5 (Fresh Shrimp)
Production: Kittco Pictures
Cast: Kyle Gallner, Laura Allen, Brittany Robertson, Matt Walsh, Esai Morales, D.C. Pierson, Zosia Mamet
Director-screenwriter: Jeffrey Fine
Producers: Matthew Fine, Sam Kitt
Executive producer: Paul Kurta
Director of photography: Marvin V. Rush
Editor: Cindy Parisotto
Music: Bobby Johnston
Production designer: Jack Ryan
Costume designer: Alycia Joy Rydings
No rating, 100 minutes