When Juli (Carroll) meets Bryce (McAuliffe), it’s love at first sight; when Bryce meets Juli, it’s nothing but embarrassment. As the pair get older, Bryce starts to realize his feelings for Juli, just as Juli begins to think that Bryce might not be the one. A cutesy and overly talkative bit of 50’s nostalgia.
The concept of the movie (a he-said-she-said teen romance) is solid enough, but the execution is lackluster. In order to tell both sides of the story, almost every scene gets played out twice while the plot is buried under an avalanche of narration. I know that the screenplay was adapted from a book, but the actors don’t have to actually read it to me. Madeline Carroll does a fine job playing the vivacious Juli, but Callan McAuliffe’s Bryce ends up too wishy-washy, instantly paling in comparison (though that’s more a fault of the writing than the performance). To its credit, the film does present an interesting snapshot of two families from the mid-50’s, and their interactions add some much needed flavor to the sentimentality. Reiner’s been riding a string of duds lately, and I fear this one won’t help. There’s no shame in skipping it.