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Son of Rambow


By Jess Harvell | Posted 5/21/2008

Movies about making movies have a high chance of being tedious even when the fictional filmmakers aren't precocious English lads attempting to remake Sly Stallone's carnage-choked '80s classic First Blood, the movie that gave us John Rambo. So be forewarned: Son of Rambow is toothache-cute, Wes Anderson quirky, and Hollywood heartwarming, a sugary cocktail you already know is/isn't your thing. Set the early '80s of Culture Club and shabby-looking British suburbs, Rambow stars Bill Milner as Will Proudfoot, the son of a fanatically religious widowed mother who permissively lets him attend a local boarding school against the wishes of their Mennonite-ish church. There, he runs afoul of Lee Carter (Will Poulter), the school troublemaker/goat who drafts budding rebellious cartoonist Will to be his co-pilot for a Rambo redux he's putting together for a BBC young filmmakers contest, a conceit that provides both honest laughs (dressing up a nursing home resident in a ladies wig as "Rambo") and cloying flights of animated fancy, where Will's drawings of flying dogs and killer scarecrows come to life. The Brit-bro bonding goes well until foppish French foreign-exchange student Didier (Jules Sitruk) insinuates himself both into the production and between the two pals. Despite a few affecting/unexpected asides--Didier's quiet comeuppance in the final moments is a knife twisted into a character who spends the entire movie as a running gag on new-wave fashion--Son of Rambow is standard family-friendly indie film festival fodder, though alternaparents charmed by English accents and Adam Ant haircuts could probably do worse.

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