Arts & Entertainment

'Submarine' review: A clever, funny path through well-worn material

EntertainmentMoviesSubmarine (movie)Wes AndersonCraig RobertsRichard AyoadeSally Hawkins

*** (out of four)

Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is like a lot of 15-year-olds: He tries to be smarter than he is while acknowledging he knows little, and he tries to do the right thing while admitting he can't let principles stand in the way of progress. His current issues: Trying to win and keep the heart (and sexual advances) of Jordana (Yasmin Paige), and preventing his mom (Sally Hawkins) from drifting away from her husband (Noah Taylor) and into the arms of her ex-lover, a ridiculous "mystic" named Graham (Paddy Considine).

The buzz: No one will accuse "Submarine" of breaking new ground. Writer-director Richard Ayoade practically plants a big kiss on the mouth of films such as "The 400 Blows," "Rushmore," "Harold and Maude," "The Squid and the Whale" and even "Rocket Science." Bonus: Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys wrote the songs for "Submarine."

The verdict: Hold off on that lawsuit, Wes Anderson. Any addition to the very tall pile of coming-of-age stories is worthy when it boasts darkly witty writing so zeroed in on a 15-year-old's irrational view of the world. The little lines and details are everything in "Submarine." Priceless highlights: Mom asking Oliver if his black eye was self-inflicted; dad memorizing the hotline to report potholes; and Oliver's affinity for routine searches of his parents' bedroom. None of these crosses the too-quirky line. The movie's a giddy ode to cinema and the dizzying naivete of adolescence, when who you are might not be as important as developing a persona. Hindsight couldn't exist without those kinds of mistakes.

Did you know? Graham's got both a mullet and spiky hair on top of his head, which is a great way of twisting the phrase, "Business in the front, party in the back" to "Party on the top, after-party in the back, baby."

 

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
EntertainmentMoviesSubmarine (movie)Wes AndersonCraig RobertsRichard AyoadeSally Hawkins
  • Best new movies
    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'Happy Christmas,' 'Snowpiercer,' 'Life Itself,' 'Begin Again,' 'They Came Together,' 'Korengal,' 'Ivory Tower,' 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,' 'The...

  • Worst new movies
    Worst new movies

    The recent awfulness we've seen, like 'Lucy,' 'I Origins,' 'And So It Goes,' 'Very Good Girls,' 'Wish I Was Here,' 'The Purge: Anarchy,' 'Tammy,' 'Deliver Us From Evil,' 'Third Person,' 'The...

  • Hot Hollywood interviews
    Hot Hollywood interviews

    The most memorable quotes from our latest movie Q&As, including Michael Pitt/Mike Cahill, 'Happy Christmas' stars, Chaz Ebert/Steve James, Paul Haggis, the stars of 'Jersey Boys,' Jenny Slate/Gillian Robespierre, Bella Thorne, Jon Favreau, John Turturro, Tilda Swinton,...

  • Good movies to rent now
    Good movies to rent now

    See what recent DVD releases are worth your time and money. Don't rent? Check out the newest movies to stream here. Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page. 

  • Shrug-worthy new movies
    Shrug-worthy new movies

    'Magic in the Moonlight,' 'A Most Wanted Man,' 'Sex Tape,' 'Boyhood,' 'Earth to Echo,' 'Transformers: Age of Extinction,' 'Jersey Boys,' 'Night Moves,' 'The Signal,' 'The Fault in Our Stars,'...

  • Getting it together for James Brown biopic
    Getting it together for James Brown biopic

    Once Brian Grazer, Mick Jagger and director Tate Taylor joined forces, 'Get on Up' was signed, sealed and delivered, exploring the man behind the hits, hairdos, wives and money woes.

  • Women are underrepresented in key movie positions, USC study finds
    Women are underrepresented in key movie positions, USC study finds

    "Frozen," Disney's animated musical about a pair of royal sisters, was last year's highest-grossing film worldwide — and also one of its most unusual, according to a study being released Thursday by researchers at USC.

  • Jon Pardi joins country's party
    Jon Pardi joins country's party

    The 29-year-old singer-songwriter is delivering rip-roaring party songs, like other exemplars of 'bro country,' but his tunes are sly and even tender too. He's building an audience, club by club.

Comments
Loading