New on DVD/Blu-ray: Flipped (2010)

Oh, true love. Ain’t it grand? It’s apparently even sweeter when you’re a kid of the ’60s and grew up during the Summer of Love and all that other hippie stuff. That brings us to Rob Reiner’s sweet coming-of-age movie “Flipped”, which chronicles the growing up of two young kids through the euphoria of first love and inevitable pitfalls of heartbreak. The movie is now available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand, and for Download from Warner Home Video.

When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows it’s love. Bryce isn’t so sure. In the days and years ahead, Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) does all he can to keep his wannabe girlfriend at arm’s length — and the smart, independent-minded Juli (Madeline Carroll) continues to give him the benefit of the doubt. This tender coming-of-age romantic comedy from director Rob Reiner takes the pair from grade school to junior high, through triumph and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make discoveries that will define who they are — and who they are to each other.

Movie Review:

Give Rob Reiner a natural young cast and some veterans to back them up, and he’ll give you something good. Or at the very least, a nice, pleasant way to pass 90 minutes of your life. As he did with “Stand by Me” and “Princess Bride”, it’s hard to have any mixed feelings about what Reiner has done with “Flipped”. You either dig the story or you’re a cold-hearted bastard. I dug it.

Based on the young adult novel of the same name by Wendelin Van Draanen, “Flipped” tells the endearing tale of Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) and Julianna (Madeline Carroll), both of whom are second-graders when we first meet them. Julianna, or Juli, knows it’s instant love when the kids meet cute, but Bryce begs to differ. A tad girl-phobic (what boy his age isn’t?), Bryce dodges Juli’s affections through the years, not an easy task given that they live, well, right across from one another and go to the same schools and all.

As the would-be lovebirds arrive in the sixth grade, Bryce hatches a plan to rid himself of Juli forever. Alas, this involves getting involved with another girl, a rather chatty Kathy one at that. Not to be deterred, Juli continues her pursuit of Bryce, aided by his grandfather (a brilliant John Mahoney). Will he ever discover his affections for her? Will she ever waver from her love for him? And how exactly will a sycamore tree figure into this truly cosmic love affair that has survived the years? Watch “Flipped” to find out.

“Flipped” stars kid actors Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe, both of whom do fine jobs in the leading roles, though it’s Carroll who really steals the show. Carroll has been in a ton of movies and TV shows, so she’s definitely no Hollywood noob. I’ve never heard of McAuliffe, but he’s not bad as the object of Juli’s persistent pursuit. I don’t know if I’d sneak sniffs at the guy’s hair, but hey, I’m also a dude, so there you go. The kids get plenty of able assist from a veteran cast that includes Aidan Quinn, Penelope Ann Miller, Anthony Edwards and Rebecca De Mornay as the parents.

Sure, it’s a little sappy in places, and indeed, most of us never had anyone plant life-affirming trees for us, but for anyone who has ever fallen in love even just once, the film will feel like reliving old, cherished memories. Unless, of course, you’re a cold-hearted bastard.

Special Features:

  • The Differences Between a Boy and a Girl: 6:32 mins. Explore the difference between boys and girls in case, you know, you had no idea. Weirdo. There’s nothing like watching Rob Reiner talking about what makes a girl tick. Brrrr.
  • Embarrassing Egg-scuses: 5:01 mins. Explore the secrets of Juli’s egg hatching skills from the movie. Who knew so much went into hatching a bunch of critters that will just end up on your dinner plate anyway? Right, Rob?
  • How to Make the Best Volcano: 4:54 mins. Find out how to make a perfect science fair volcano from star Callan McAuliffe who happens to be Australian. Yeah, bet you didn’t know that when you watched the movie, did you? Kid’s got mad skills with accents. And, er, volcanoes, apparently. Now, you, too, can wow them at the school science fair! (With adult supervision, of course.)
  • Flipped: Anatomy of a Near Kiss: 3:18 mins. Watch over 3 minutes of “professional” actors Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe giggling and fumbling like the kids they are through the film’s major kissing scene. Kinda sweet, like the movie.

Buy “Flipped” on DVD or Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.