Teenage Cocktail (2016)

I probably got this as a pick from some critic’s list or other but I remember where exactly. It’s a low budget film that stars some of the regulars in such independent productions and is made by a director, John Carchietta, that I’ve never heard of before. Unfortunately I found nothing particularly noteworthy about this film that elevates it above its humble origins and was overall disappointed.

Annie is a teenaged girl who has recently moved to a new town with her family. She is bullied by the other girls until she befriends aspiring dancer Jules. The pair soon become inseparable and despite the fact that Jules has a boyfriend, it becomes evident that Annie has fallen in love with Jules. This growing closeness worries Annie’s mother and in typical teenage fashion, Annie reacts badly to her mother’s concerns, further pushing her away. Jules reveals that her dream is to run away from the dead end town they live in to New York but to do that she needs to raise funds. Annie is initially shocked when she learns that Jules has been putting on sexy webcam shows in order to earn money but is quickly persuaded to become a participant. Inevitably the rest of the school soon discover what the two girls have been doing and instead of giving in, Jules decides to escalate in order to get enough money to leave the town behind.

There are some decent ideas in here. I think making a film about how webcam pornography and prostitution through the Internet as an escape route for young girls feels very relevant and contemporary. It’s especially insightful to have their client not be the filthy rich guy he pretends to be but a middle-class everyman who is tired of his marriage and looking to spoil himself for one night. Unfortunately the execution here is lackluster and everything feels flat and not terribly engaging. The actress who plays Annie, Nichole Bloom, isn’t that good and I found it impossible to sympathize with her. The character I sympathize with the most is her mother who is obviously trying so very hard. The actress who plays Jules, Fabianne Therese, is much more charismatic. We’ve previously seen her in Southbound and her other roles are similarly more high profile.

Overall I found this to be a mediocre film that isn’t really worth watching. There’s no spark of brilliance here that makes it interesting. Just an unimpressive effort all around.

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