by Laura Kyle
You’re gonna have to search high and low for a glowing review of Now and Then, the bone thrown to all the pre-teen girls who were left out when Stand By Me charmed critics and moviegoers alike. But, having owned this video as a 12-yr-old, I can tell you there is a certain nostalgia the film stirs up in me… so consider this one of the best reviews you’ll ever read of Now and Then. Take it with a particle of a grain of salt.Three of the four young stars would follow Now and Then up with fairly lucrative careers, while one would fall off the face of the Earth. But it’s no overstatement to say the amateur cast had enough talent to go around. Christina Ricci, in her more innocent, mainstream days, is Roberta, a tough, motherless tomboy, taping up her rack, for fear of being too feminine. Gaby Hoffman is Samantha, Roberta’s best friend, and a brooding product of a broken home. Thora Birch is Tina (Teeny), a starry-eyed wannabe actress who, unlike Roberta, stuffs her bra. And Ashleigh Aston Moore (the one who stumbled off the planet) is Chrissy, the dorky, tubby prude of the troop.
"I liked it then, and can tell that it sucks now."
Their coming-of-age tale is told in one long flashback, when the four adult versions of them meet up for a reunion. Rosie O’Donnell is Roberta all grown up (poor little Ricci, “is that what I’ll look like when I grow up?”), Demi Moore is Samantha, Melanie Griffith is Tina, and alas, Rita Wilson is Chrissy. The recognizable names of these more experienced actresses warrant them references on the cover box, but they’re hardly in it.
So, the girls become young women… by way of an unsolved mystery. Yes, it’s a pseudo-Nancy Drew story of sorts. And Devon Sawa puckers up to Ricci for a second time after Casper, filling in for the role of the “cute boy.” But plot aside, Now and Then is a movie that everyone who was ever a 12-yr-old girl can manage to crack a grin at.
Male critics may be quick to pounce on Now and Then for its four main characters, who are simply stated and developed with clichés, not actual WRITING, but for those of us with two X chromosomes, they’ll come off a little more genuine.
So, there’s a certain glee in reliving those years before High School (or Mean Girls), and the young cast is charming enough.Now and Then overtly tries to get its audience to fall in love with it, almost to a sickening extent. And its heavy themes of… “friendship”… fall flat. But there’s a carefree quality to the film and it will play at slumber parties for all eternity. Hey, it’s better than every Olsen Twin film combined. I know that’s not saying much, but Now and Then is one of those movies that will stick with you even when you get old enough to realize what crap it is.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3580&reviewer=369
originally posted: 04/11/05 05:04:28