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(For more on 90s nostalgia, see Miles Raymer's column in the music section this week.) But by changing the middle-aged, alcoholic Mrs.Robinson of the Nichols movie into a man, and centering his illicit relationship with the adolescent hero on pot rather than sex, Levine manages to give the story a new spin. Luke Shapiro (Peck) is a recent graduate himself—from high school, not college—and early in the movie Levine shows him accepting his diploma to conspicuously light applause.Plus, there are so many funny moments that it’s perfect for a date or just to go with a bunch of friends.Trust me, everyone will relate to at least one of the characters on screen…as it’s a coming of age story that’s as real as anything I’ve seen in a long time.When Squires counsels Luke, his advice is colored by envy."Lucas, do you have any idea what I would give to be you again? "Get your heart broken, find yourself face down in the gutter, get your pulse up, make a real mess of your life, son!Robinson after she forbids him to date her daughter, Elaine. " Yet in , Squires isn't trying to protect his stepdaughter from Luke—he's trying to protect Luke from her. "She's just bored." You're inclined to agree, because throughout the movie Levine portrays Stephanie as callous, uncaring, and cynical."This is the sickest, most perverted thing that's ever happened to me." Again one gets the sense that Levine might have written playing on the TV in the other room: "Why are you even hanging out with me anyway? When she first appears, at the graduation ceremony, she moves through the crowd in slow motion, dragging on a cigarette and looking like a hardened middle-aged woman.

Compared to the famously ambiguous ending of suffers from a kind of arrested male adolescence.

If the generation gap seems to have closed between 19, that's only because the adult characters have failed to grow up.

At home Luke has to turn up his headphones to drown out his parents' juvenile bickering, and both Squires and his wife, trapped in a dead marriage like the Robinsons, are darkly obsessed with the loss of their youth.

When Luke seduces her, confessing that he's a virgin, she replies, "Don't worry about it.

I've done it like a hundred times—I can teach you." And when Luke finally comes out with the truth, telling her he loves her, Stephanie replies, "Whoa, dude," and walks away without another word.

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