A thirty-five minute short from first-time writer/director Divoni Simon MATURING YOUTH mixes multiple genres in a tale about responsibilities, growing up and family ties.
Roger (Sean A Kaufman, Dwellers: The Curse of Pastor Stokes) is a 32-year-old loser, staying constantly stoned and living off of money from his retired to Florida mother. All of this changes when his ex Sadie (Kim Paris, DEATH AT A BARBECUE) reappears with Roger Jr. (Joshua St. Leger) the son he never knew he had. When she just as suddenly vanishes again he’s forced into the role of a single parent, something he greatly resents. When the boy gets sick he calls in Dr. Riccard (Terrence Keene), who may not be what he appears to be.
I’ve frequently said in reviews that a film might have played better as a short, but this is one case where the opposite is true. MATURING YOUTH has so many shifts in plot and changes in tone from humorous to serious and back again that it feels very disjointed. And when it veers off into supernatural/religious/IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE territory it all feels too sudden, like some Deus ex Machina plot device rather than a legitimate plot development.
With more time the develop and shade the changes in tone and to build up Dr. Riccard’s personality so it becomes more believable when he reveals his powers the film plays better. Of course given that he’s a doctor who still makes house calls maybe it’s not so surprising he turns out to be a divine entity.
MATURING YOUTH is well made from a technical perspective, it’s let down by a script that’s too ambitious for its running time and tries to pack too much in. Given that R&F Entertainment may want to consider expanding it as a feature.