I think I need to start taking recommendations for Kids Film Friday from now on, instead of just relying on the Family Films section on Netflix.
Avoid. You won’t miss much.
Alex is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps and be a race car driver. Her uncle Bill, the chief steward of the local track where Alex’s father died in a crash, is equally determined that she shouldn’t. When a professional team comes to town to recruit a new driver, Alex must prove to Bill – and to herself – that she has what it takes.
Fast Girl is supposedly a family film, but the lead role is just a few years too old for it to work as such. It feels awkward. Alex is in her twenties, lives alone, goes out drinking after work and, oh yeah, is technically an unrepentant car thief*. Disney, this ain’t. The problem with this film is that it doesn’t know who it’s intended audience is. The characters are too grown up for it to be a kids film; it’s about racing, but the lead being a girl will put off a lot of boys; young girls who want to race cars is still a very niche market.
Mircea Monroe plays Alex as a surprisingly complex and self-sufficient young woman for this type of flick, even if that complexity is little more than a collection of cliches, right down to her inability to race through the corner where her father died despite having tried probably a few thousand times since then. Former American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini is her love interest Darryl, already a driver for the pro team Alex wants to join. For a supposed racing driver though, he seems a bit averse to speed. He even walks like he’s in slow motion. The physical relationship for these two twenty-something kids amounts to a couple of chaste kisses; that’s the only part that really rings true about this being a kids film.
Director Daniel Zirilli does a reasonable job with the pacing of the flick, and the driving footage is done quite well, although there are times when a shot seems to go on just too long, or there’s an insert where nothing happens. It’s not the most tightly edited film I’ve ever seen, in fact there are moments when it seems downright amateurish.
With a movie like this you would expect the lead character to grow or develop emotionally in order to achieve their goal. By that logic, Alex isn’t even the lead role; Uncle Bill is. He’s the one who changes, finally accepting that Alex has grown up and is determined to race, despite his efforts to keep her off the track to avoid the same thing happening to her as to her father (and his brother). While the character has no background or development besides “I’m Alex’s uncle”, Dwier Brown gives the most rounded and believable performance in the film.
Unfortunately a couple of good performances and some half-decent race footage does not a good film make. I don’t rate any of the films I watch, but if you put a gun to my head I wouldn’t give this more than 2 stars.
*While working part time as a valet, she borrows high-end cars to take them round the track.
So basically it’s Days of Thunder with a girl that looks like a cross between Rachel McAdams, Mena Suvari, and a little bit of Sigourney Weaver (but I can’t figure out why). The name of the movie can easily be used for a porno too, actually.
Exactly. A girls’ remake of Days of Thunder, only not a much fun.
Here’s a few suggestions for you: The Last Unicorn – 80’s Rankin Bass animation, Titan A.E. – 90’s Don Bluth animation, Mirrormask – thematic sequel/remake of Labyrinth from Jim Henson productions and written by Neil Gaiman. What about a Miyazaki Studio Ghibli movie like Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle?
All good ideas, Bubba. Unfortunately I’ve already seen most of them so that rules them out for this 365 thing. There are still some gaps in my Studio Ghibli education though. Watch this space.
If you haven’t seen Arriety, I really enjoyed that one. I forgot that you’re looking for movies you haven’t seen before.