SPF – 18 – Review

Genre  Comedy
Directed by Alex Israel
Starring Carson Meyer, Noah Centineo, Bianca A. Santos, Jackson White, Molly Ringwald, Rosanna Arquette
Released on September 29, 2017
Duration 75 minutes
Flixxpanda Rating 3/10
Channel Netflix

SPF – 18 is one of those really artsy movies that you don’t really know how to feel about. The ones that leave you wondering a little bit whether you wasted 75 minutes on rubbish.

At first glance, it may seem like a really slow and boring movie, which it kind of is, to be honest. Throughout the movie, I was about to turn it off because it just seems poorly made and poorly written with poor acting and just poor plot overall.

But if you give it a bit of time and not let the narrator voice totally annoy the crap out of you, it’s not a completely horrible experience. The soundtrack does make up for a lot of the negatives though, so it’s not a total waste.

The film seems to fantasize air-headed teenagers, who don’t have any worries in their lives beside the loss of their virginity on prom night. They’re perfectly groomed, have glittery wardrobes and idle their lives away. 

“When you grow up in LA, real life and the movies can get a little mixed up.” This is the opening line of SPF – 18. It revolves around Penny (Carson Meyer), the daughter of a “kind-of” famous soap actress. She films everything, all the time, saying that sometimes things feel more real on video that in real life. Her boyfriend Johnny (Noah Centineo), lost his dad a year ago due to a surfing accident and is trying to figure out whether he wants to continue surfing or quit it altogether and go to art school instead. Penny’s weird cousin Camilla (Bianca A. Santos) has come home from boarding school to spend the summer.

Johnny gets to house-sit Keanu Reeves’s way-too-expensive house for the summer and so he invites Penny for a romantic getaway, she, in turn, brings Camilla. Penny wants to lose her virginity and she takes advice from Camilla to get the deed done right. It goes well, except Johnny doesn’t speak to Penny afterward. At this point, this movie is already a disaster.

Camilla sees some dude naked in the ocean from the house who we later learn is the musician Ash (Jackson Baker) when Johnny picks him from camping on the beach to stay with him. I mean sure, we all pick up strangers and let them stay in homes that aren’t ours, right?

As the movie progresses Johnny decides to continue to surf. He and Penny break up when she falls for Ash, except it was meant to be. Camilla gets to design a line of wet-suits for surfing (wow) and Ash ends up making the music he wanted instead of the bubble-gum pop his label was forcing him to make. Frankly, the end song that’s supposed to be his best work so far, is so bad I had to focus on the ramen I was eating instead of the terrible lyrics and horrendous melody.

The whole film has the air of young, beautiful people spending money they didn’t make, living lives they didn’t earn. There are no morals. Maybe that was supposed to be the vibe of it. A chic, indie movie with zero meaning. The splurge of money is clearly seen in the cameos, beautiful scenery and music used. I’m sorry but the movie just feels like someone gave up making it half-way through and just dragged it out because they had already featured some famous celebrities.

Video credit – YouTube

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