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Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger (DVD Review)

3 Jul, 2010 By: Billy Gil

Street 7/13/10
$26.95 DVD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief teen smoking.
Stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, Danelle Catanzariti, Toni Collette.

Although in the same vein as Tina Fey’s Mean Girls (which itself was kind of a take-off of Heathers), Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger has its own sweet vibe and is a worthy entry to the coming-of-age canon.

Esther Blueburger (superb newcomer Danielle Catanzariti) is an odd duck — the comparison is apt, since her only friend is a duck — in a private girls school of rich snobs. Esther watches her public school counterparts, who play the drums and have fun, with longing.

Sunni (excellent Keisha Castle-Hughes, reminding us why she’s a former Oscar nominee) takes notice of Esther and decides to rescue her from social doom, livening up Esther’s bat mitzvah and inviting her to join her and her misfit friends at school. The only problem is Esther has to pretend she’s an exchange student in order to fool those around her that she belongs.

The film’s weakness lies in its somewhat flat portrayals of the adults surrounding these kids. Essie Davis and Toni Collette do fine jobs of playing Esther’s shrill, uptight mom and Sunni’s single, stripper mom, respectively, but their characters come off as caricatures.

However, Esther Blueburger is ultimately a winner of a loser’s tale, a somewhat fantastical take on teenage loneliness and overcoming the pains of adolescence through friendship and outsmarting those around you.

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