Cecil (Sark Asadourian) has a problem. Actually, he has several his parents Tim (Jason London, Dazed And Confused, Carrie 2, The Rage) and Lorrie (Jenna von Oÿ, Blossom) are self-centered tools. They’ve also split up and sent him to live with his grandma Peggy (Mary Alfred Thoma). That means starting over at a new school. Which means telling everyone his name is Cecil Stevens, which is doubly embarrassing when you have a lisp. So he changes his name to Michael Jordan…
Set in 1996, and probably channeling writer/director Spenser Fritz’s own memories of growing up Cecil is a kids film with both an uplifting message and a warning about the consequences of one’s actions. And if I was in the 4th grade like Cecil is I’d probably like it.
The kids are, of course, the only ones with a clue. The adults in Cecil are mostly over the top caricatures, from the bickering parents, (at one point Mom put toenail clippings in Dad’s dinner) to the corrupt principal (Jay Dee Walters) who’s embezzling school funds to pay off a loan shark. He must not be too good at it because he still keeps getting beat up. It’s all silly and entertaining enough to deliver its message without feeling preachy.
What might be a problem though is the setting. For most of this film’s target audience, 1996 might as well be something from another planet. Whether or not they’ll be able to identify with the era or just dismiss it all as too weird. The characters and plot are certainly well enough developed, but the unfamiliar setting may get in the way of their enjoying it.
Overall though Cecil should go over well with kids. There’s enough universal humor, (poop jokes are always funny to kids), to keep kids amused. And distracted enough for the film to slip its message past them.
Cecil is available on DVD, VOD and streaming platforms via Vision Films. You can get more details via the film’s website.