Illustration for article titled Teen movie iBanana Split /iis as artificial as fake fruit

Photograph: Vertical Leisure

Benjamin Kasulke’s directorial debut Banana Break up is just not a lot a film about youngsters as it’s a “teen film”—the sort the place individuals who look sufficiently old to be at present submitting for unemployment commerce bon mots whereas sporting Converse high-tops that seem like they’ve by no means seen the outside. It’s the summer time after commencement, and college-bound April (Hannah Marks, who additionally co-wrote the script) continues to be pining for her ex-boyfriend, Nick (Dylan Sprouse, sporting a mane of luxuriant romance-novel hair). When he begins relationship the new-in-town Clara (Liana Liberato), April will get jealous. However their unintentional assembly at a celebration doesn’t end up as anticipated. As an alternative, the women turn out to be quick associates.


Banana Break up


Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato, Dylan Sprouse, Luke Spencer Roberts, Jessica Hecht


Digital platforms and VOD March 27

They do all the things collectively, and provides one another nicknames: April is “Brad Pitt” and Clara is “George Clooney.” For no matter cause, they determined to maintain their friendship secret from Nick. If that doesn’t sound like a lot of a battle to hold a film on, it’s as a result of it isn’t. Again and again, Banana Break up visibly strains to fill out its modest operating time. Ceaselessly, it succumbs to repetition, backtracking over the identical handful of plot factors or dragging them by means of cutesy montages and fantasy and dream sequences. Kasulke, whose lengthy resume as an indie cinematographer consists of a number of movies by Man Maddin and Lynn Shelton, doesn’t carry a lot visible wit to those scenes—simply the identical clear, fussed-over areas and flat-against-the-wall symmetries acquainted from dozens of coming-of-age movies produced because the mid-2000s.

Actually, aside from some mild vaping, Banana Break up may have actually been set at any level because the introduction of social media. The teenager-movie tropes it regurgitates are hardly new. April has the requisite harried, oversharing single guardian (Jessica Hecht); hopelessly dorky male good friend (Luke Spencer Roberts); “boring” summer time job (promoting concessions at an arthouse theater); and bratty, foul-mouthed youthful sibling (Addison Riecke). (Should you get pleasure from listening to a tween say “Suck my dick” and “Eat my ass” time and again, then this can be a film for you.) Clara, within the meantime, doesn’t get a lot of a background, aside from some humble origins (she’s from Fresno) and a level of sexual expertise that pries at April’s pro-forma insecurities.

At the very least the soundtrack decisions are above common—although one wonders why these decidedly un-subcultural Zoomers appear to have the musical style of a thirty-to-forty-something ex-hipster. (Do we actually consider that they’d be listening to Psychic TV and X-Ray Spex?) In fact, loads of films about younger individuals—together with a few of the nice ones—exist in a bubble of excessive artificiality. They’re full of characters who ship sassy comebacks that the writers have been mentally workshopping since highschool. These characters have a few of the quirkiness and self-pity of actual youngsters, however with clear pores and skin, a coordinated wardrobe, and well-conditioned hair.

The issue with Banana Break up isn’t the floor phoniness or lazy comedy however the truth that the film doesn’t provide any perception into its ostensible topics—amongst them break-ups, feminine friendship, and teenage jealousy. As an alternative, it merely coasts on the acute professionalism of the solid, which is nearly a given contemplating that each one three leads have been enjoying excessive schoolers for not less than a decade. Whereas their teen characters aren’t precisely plausible, they’re additionally not often annoying. Maybe that’s the one benefit they’ve over the true factor.