The Secret Lives of Dorks (2013)
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Nicholas Brandt, Johnny Severin
Gaelan Connell, Charlie Stewart, Vanessa Marano, Beau Mirchoff, Riley Voelkel, James Belushi, Mark Daugherty, Tyler Steelman, Jennifer Tilly, William Katt, Seymour Cassel, Andrea Bogart, Kay Lenz, Emily Wilson, Lindsay Bushman, Escher Holloway, Joe Filippone, Dave Bean, Krystina Ptasinski, Dawn Meyer, Corin Grant, Charles Chen, Elaine Kratofil, Sarah Leners, Myles Tufts, Benjamin R. Brown III, Silas Briton, Mary Wang, Wilson Wong, Brian Metran, Fortune Feimster, Daina Gozan, Kara Taitz, Nikki Hahn, Chanel Marriott, Thushari Jayasekera, Nicole Sadighi, Christopher Troy, Melanie Manooki, Jessica Gardner, Caitlin Rose Williams, Amy Mader, Nicole Wright, Sapphire Lichelle James, Monda Scott, Morgan McClellan, Jack Grimmett, Jennifer C. Donegan, Suzy Vaughan, Landon LaVigne, Matthew Von Der Ahe, Cecilia Rose, Dean Dalmacio, Shannon Ring, Teagan Berger
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WE'RE ALL DORKS!
Favorite Movie Quote: "I love how your hair reflects off the sun"
The formula is simple: dork pines for unattainable goddess. Dorkette pines for dork. Unattainable goddess, to get dork off her back, coaches dork to woo dorkette.
What could possibly go wrong?
The SECRET LIFE of DORKS is a light piece of young love, of perceptions and expectations, and what you really want is never what you think you want. Payton (Gaelan Connell) is a dork. He has delusions of grandeur, practicing every lame pickup line known to Man - by himself. His unattainable goddess is head cheerleader Carey Smith (Riley Voelkel). She, of course, is girlfriend of the school star quarterback, Clark (Beau Mirchoff), and one of Payton's chief tormentors. Carey discovers that Samantha (Vanessa Marano) has the serious hots for Payton, but he is so wrapped up in his own insecurities, he is too oblivious to recognize her feeble advances. In a total reversal of the dorky girl tutoring the dorky guy to get the unattainable goddess, the unattainable goddess takes the role of teacher, not knowing that it is Payton's Master Scheme to get closer to her. Carey finally gets Payton to ask Samantha on a date, and the results are less than stellar, in fact, the date could get a Flicker Nomination for the most disastrous date in Cinema History. But despite driving the worst car in human history, the male strip club, and a hilarious reaction to onions, Samantha asks for a second date. Meanwhile, Clark begins disappearing, not explaining to Carey his whereabouts. So, in the standard-issue things-go-horribly-wrong portion of the movie, Carey, out of jealousy, asks Payton to The Dance, not knowing Samantha is within earshot. Massive blow-up, then reconciliation, then the Hollywood Ending.
The film has the advantage of having a very likable cast. Connell plays the dork well - not too deprecating, and only moderately aware of his limitations. Voelkel plays an interesting mix of goddess with more intelligence than the stereotyped bimbo cheerleader, unlike her entourage, who are that dumb. Marano is the most interesting character of all. Starting out as a neo-goth recluse, Samantha comes out of her shell the more she exposes herself with Payton, until she is on a hotness level with Carey. Of the principals, Mirchoff had the least to do, though his role in the movie had more to do with the reactions of Payton and Carey. Filling out the rest of the main cast is James Belushi as Coach Bronko, head coach of the high school and a devoted fan of Mike Ditka (playing himself), who lives by his every word, via instructional DVDs. Oh, and Belushi's also Payton's father, which adds a level of pressure for both Bronko and Payton. Nikki Hahn is Gale Sara Ralph, Payton's six-year-old sister, and the "son" Bronko never had. Jennifer Tilly is Ms. Stewart, a biology teacher at the high school, whose biological urges are a little more than academic towards the oblivious, Ditka-blinded Bronko. In short, everyone displays some level of dorkiness throughout the film. Payton's daydreams of various worst-case scenarios for himself, which is imagined throughout in in mind via animation, actualizes the anxieties of very kid who doesn't/can't hang out with the "cool kids." It's light fare; no one is emotionally scarred in the end, and the only thing missing from the formula was the rousing musical number at the end of the film.
On my personal rating scale of with "5" being drop everything and see the movie now; if you're female, bear the producers' children and "0" being burn down the theater, murder the movie staff, and violate their dog, this movie earns a "4," using my Patented Bell Curve for Independent Films. The SECRET LIFE of DORKS is a fun bit of a teen Rom-Com, without the sex, nudity (except for a brief Thunder Down Under scene), and toilet humor that has been the staple of teen comedies of late. Oh, and one more thing - the teenagers in the film looked liked real teenagers, and not using the Sans-A-Belt Vintage Celebrities that are dusted off from time to time to give a film a little "Q" factor.
The SECRET LIFE of DORKS is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, and for language. But in this reviewer's opinion, could be shown, unedited, even on family-friendly stations, such as ABCFamily. This reviewer is calling this a "RENT," because, despite all the good things about this movie, it is still a formulaic Rom-Com, and once, for this reviewer, is enough.
The SECRET LIFE of DORKS is scheduled for release September 27th.
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