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This 2010 Sundance favorite is goofy, adventurous, and often quite funny....
Kino / 90 Minutes / 2010 / Unrated / Street Date: July 9, 2013
Our eponymous main character here (James Rolleston) lives a simple life in a rundown house in New Zealand. His grandma (Mavis Paenga) stops by every once in a while to check on him and the other boys who share the place, but for the most part, these young guys make their own way in the world, trying to forge an existence for themselves. This includes nominal meals, some fun gameplay, and a deeply thorough appreciation for the music of Michael Jackson.
Enter our protagonist’s dad (played by the movie’s director, Taika Waititi), a guy who engages with his son but never fully commits himself to any kinds of legitimately paternal capacities. In fact, the guy has been in prison for a long while once he shows up on the scene here, and though he immediately becomes the coolest cat Boy and his housemates have ever known, once the question of some money buried on the property pops up, any kind of simple father/son reunion is thrown out the window.
Boy is a cleverly obtuse movie, one that resorts to simple melodrama more often than it maybe should, yet it retains a certain contextual freshness that never makes it seem dull or repetitive. One wonders as the movie sets into its final minutes what the overall point of the thing really is – it has vestiges of many coming-of-age genre tenets, but never fully makes good on them – but many of the MJ-inspired visual snapshots on display here work just fine on their own. As a movie of interspersed moments, Boy is often cheeky fun, though one is left wondering what the film might have been like as a more unified whole.