Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore in "Homework" Photo by Mark Schafer
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Gavin Wiesen
This may be Gavin Wiesen’s feature debut as a director, but it’s blatantly clear he’s been watching and studying Sundance entries for the past 20 years, because nothing contained in his teenage love drama is remotely innovative. George (Freddie Highmore) is your typical independent film protagonist who attends a private school, is provided with an affluent lifestyle and calls his parents and teachers by their first name (how hip of him). After discovering death is inevitable for everyone, George chooses to not participate in class activities and homework lessons, but once he meets Sally (Emma Roberts), his perspective on life just might change forever (spoiler: it does … shocking). Rather than coming across as a miserable loner, Highmore appears more like a spoiled brat who complains that he can’t use his laptop for one whole night because the power’s been shut off. Life sure can be tough. Roberts, while doing the best with what she’s given, essentially plays a diluted version of her character from “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”. The better moments come from the side characters of teachers and a principal who have less than ten minutes of screen time to outshine Highmore, yet that’s exactly what they do. Predictable from start to finish, Wiesen should rethink his decision to unveil clichéd storylines before sitting in the director’s chair again. It sure would help with the diversity of Sundance’s lineup.