Keith (DVD Review)4 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Prebook 1/6/09; Street 2/3/09
Stars Jesse McCartney, Elisabeth Harnois.
Senior year in high school can be a trying time, with hormones, applying to college, scholarships and parental expectations colliding — often within preconceived stereotypes.
Enter Keith (teen pop star McCartney in his first feature film), a mysterious and frequently truant boy partnered with smart and popular Natalie (Harnois) in a chemistry class (a common thread in recent teen films, see Twilight) she must do well in to maintain a Duke-bound G.P.A.
While Natalie stresses about lab notes, a relationship with a handsome Italian classmate and maintaining her state tennis ranking, Keith loves his dated yellow truck and an indifferent approach to school and life that borders on boorish.
“We’re here in a yellow truck, a road ahead of us and nothing but opportunities,” Keith tells Natalie one day after school. His penchant of answering a question with questions only compounds Natalie’s frustration.
As happens in many love stories, however, opposites invariably attract, and Natalie falls for the outsider whose quirky idea of a bowling date involves depositing monogrammed 16-pound balls on people’s doorsteps.
“You don’t care what people think, you’re just you,” she remarks.
Of course there is a pragmatic reason to Keith’s capricious nature, which, thankfully, has nothing to do with vampires or a fixation on graphic novels.
Director Todd Kessler’s first foray into non-children’s fare (he is co-creator of the popular “Blue’s Clues” franchise) works in large part due to a believable script and cast — notably McCartney, who appears eager and capable of shedding his Teen Choice Awards days.