Sitting through Rob Reiner's adaptation of Wendelin Van Draanen's YA novel is like watching the summer's worst movie — twice.
The story sounds kind of sweet: Bryce (Callan McAuliffe), a wishy-washy eighth-grader, has a love/hate relationship with Juli (Madeline Carroll), who is inexplicably drawn to him. Will he recognize his true feelings for her, overcome his abusive father (Anthony Edwards), and develop a backbone?
I don't want to give anything away, but by the end it's hard to care because each scene is narrated by a wall-to-wall voiceover that restates the obvious — i.e., Juli gets frantic when they cut down her tree, and Bryce says, "Juli was really frantic; they were cutting down her tree." Then they repeat the process from the other character's POV.
Tarantino it isn't. Reiner sets the story in a late-'50s/'60s indicated by old cars and gratuitous oldies on the soundtrack, underscoring how much he's flipped since Stand by Me.