I was excited to receive a copy of Perfect Summer to watch with the family for a review. The write up from the publisher sounded like a great flick –
“In The Perfect Summer, fatherless teenager Jake (Adam Horner) is happy living in Chicago, until his mother (Sydney Penny) decides to uproot them to a small surfing town where her estranged father (Eric Roberts), Jake’s grandfather, lives. The transition isn’t easy for anyone and it seems everywhere he goes, Jake manages to make enemies, including the town bully, Tyler (JD Banks), who doesn’t like the new interloper or his interest in young surfing prodigy, Kayla (Katie Garfield). Stuck in the beach town with no friends and no knowledge of surfing, Jake has nowhere to turn until Cody (Jason Castro), the local surf shop owner, reveals that Jake’s grandfather is a surf legend. Tired of feeling like an outcast, Jake asks Lou to teach him about surfing. Jake learns to face his fears, push through inhibitions and realizes that winning the respect of his new peers – and Katie’s heart – might mean facing the biggest challenge of his life.”
And those are the facts – but not quite how it is played out on screen. The trouble is that many parts of the movie are unbelievable, or distracting.
The teenager is being portrayed by an older looking 23 year old man. Yes, he sort of resembles what one might think would go for Eric Robert’s grandson – but it is really hard to believe he is a teen.
One of the first scenes is him walking around his room in a small beach town with his phone out looking for a signal. But he keeps chanting – WiFi, Come On WiFi. Well. Most teens that we know would say – give me a signal, or come on 3g/4g, come on internet. WiFi is what is already in the house from a router that gives internet. There is a conversation about not having internet at the house, and he’ll need to go to town.
Which leads us to the next unbelievable part – He goes to a Surf Shop that also sells soda and food, and has tables with wifi. A girl comes in and they flirt with their eyes, then two friends come in and start a fight over the girl. It’s a bit over the top. The shop worker says that he should have talked to the girl, that she was really into him. We’ve been in quite a few surf shops, never have we had one of the surf team guys try to get their female surfers hooked up with non surfing strangers.
At this point – I’m wondering, Am I being too critical? Because we know a bit about west coast surf culture? Try to turn off my brain and just enjoy the story. But I just can’t. Especially with my teen son giving critical comments too.
Why did she have on full makeup after surfing? And why did her dry wetsuit get splashed with water, if she just got out of the surf?
Why does Grandpa always wear heavy shoes, jeans and white socks on the beach? Why is he never in flip flops or shorts?
Why is Grandpa teaching him how to “stand up on the board” but not showing him how to do a pop up? Or teaching him anything else? Nathan said that he could not believe that the kid could only do 2-3 sit-ups with lots of pain. He says a guy with his body should be able to do sit-ups forever. Which is correct, as the actor’s bio says he his into fitness and dance. It shows.
Quite a few comments about the soundtrack: it goes over the voices – singing words – over their talking.
It is cool that they kept most of the pictures and boards in the North Carolina area. That the shop in the film is also on T shirts and posters: http://www.aussieisland.com/. It is cool that the local board shaper got quite a bit of on screen credit. He has the board in the movie posted on his FB page. SOD Surfboards http://www.sodsurfboards.com/. Local Shapers Rock.
The Surfboard gets broken by the mean guys – and the guy brags that his new board “Set my parents back a couple hundred.” A couple? As in 200? Hmmm. Maybe I should call SOD and try to get a new custom shaped board for 200 dollars.
Many more of these – things that make you go hmmmmm – were in the film.
I’m not sure why the mom, recently widowed, homeless living with her dad, having a hard time looking for work – would instantly hook up with her new boss? I was expecting him to be a creeper. The son gets a lecture for not liking his mom dating her boss. First of all – who does that? Second of all – really? You can’t find a job, but you’ll make flirty eyes and personal space with your boss?
And that goes the same with the son. He gets hooked into a serious relationship in three weeks. All of the issues in the film stem from his desire to want to be around a girl that he just met. I appreciate that this is a VERY modest film. Which is hard to portray in surf towns. The girls are dressed very modestly. Which is always funny to me, that they let the boys be shirtless in board shorts, but the girls covered up. But that is a good point for the film. Anyways – his relationship with the girl goes very quickly.
I was really disappointed with the grandfather, for how he taught his grandson to surf. That we never see him or the grandson surf. We sort of see a clip of grandpa in the water then walking out in a wetsuit. Both wetsuits are dry with perfectly combed wet hair. I am sad that after the kid breaks grandpa’s vintage board, that grandpa goes and breaks the kid’s new board. I would hope and pray that no surf legend I know would break a board on purpose, no matter what provokes it. I pretty much lost my last holdout of hope for the movie when that happened.
Until the end – when they pretty much gave our family motto in the film. Both of my boys love entering surf contests. Yes, Jon does well up here in the PNW, but he also goes to California with the ‘good’ surfers as well. They said something that we say often:
“You don’t surf to show off, you don’t surf to prove a point –
you do it, because you love it. Period.”
Well, that and a free contest T-Shirt and swag from the vendors and the party on the beach.
Speaking of contests – I’ve never seen heats where there is only one surfer in the water at a time. I’ve also never been to a competition where no one wears jerseys for the judges. And at the end of the contest – his leash comes off of his foot? What the?
Anyways – you get the point. I could go on and on. In the end, I don’t think I’d be able to recommend the film to teens – as it portrays a weird “Perfect Summer” Of being yelled at by your grandpa, watching your mom hook up with her boss, being beat up and tortured by the local surf rats, having a girl fall head over heals in love with you with just a glance, lots of yelling and running away, and then a surf competition that you stand up in the water for the first time – followed by all 5 of them at the beach watching a sunset all cozy and in love. If that sounds like the movie for you – then by all means – watch it.
I was given a free copy of Perfect Summer on DVD in exchange for watching the movie and giving it a review. As you can tell, I am able to give my honest opinion. Thank you Edify Media, Inc for the opportunity. It wasn’t completely horrible – just really painful for a surf family to watch.