Lying, it’s the way of the world. You’ve got to be good at it if you’re going to succeed in today’s society (sorry God). Children lie to their parents if they think it will get them out of trouble. How many times has little Johnny pointed the finger at his younger brother for breaking something? Adults lie to their peers, in an effort to seem better than them. How many times has a person you know mention how much money he’s making and how great his job/wife/car/house is? The biggest liars of them all, are teenagers though. They’ve got to lie to their parents AND their peers about everything and anything. Full of It, tackles this premise and puts a silly “what if?” spin on it.
Basically, poor Sam Leonard (Ryan Pinkston) is an outcast at his new school. He’s short, chubby and dresses like a complete nerd. And guess what? He’s picked on by everyone. After seeking advice from his burned-out, estranged guidance counselor (Craig Kilborn) – who gives him the best, yet most controversial, practical advice I’ve ever heard – Sam dumps his morals at the door, fully convinced making things up will get him accepted. Unfortunately for him it does, but the price he has to pay for it is much steeper than anticipated.
He starts the bullshit flowing almost immediately — here are a few of the more memorable fibs Leonard weaves as he tries to fit in at school:
- He owns a tricked out Porsche.
- His father is a member of the 80’s hair-metal band Poison.
- Carmen Electra is dyslexic and he is great friends with her.
- Female teachers find him irresistible.
- The reason he showers with shorts on, is because he has a big dick and doesn’t want to embarrass his classmates.
- He’s great basketball player and every shot he takes is like money in the bank.
The conundrum in Full of It is along the same line as in Big. Here, instead of a wish becoming an unexpected reality, all of Sam’s lies come to fruition. Big deal you might think to yourself, who wouldn’t want all their lies of grandeur coming true? I too, subscribe to that mode of thinking. While I mostly enjoyed watching Sam embrace his ill-found notoriety, I found myself totally disinterested in his ultimate self-realization that these tales always end with. Why can’t a movie just end with a kid abusing the hell out of it all and getting way with it?
Since this movie is short on substance, to make it work, the casting director needed to really bring in the right people for the job. That task started with the filling the role of Sam. Placing Ryan Pinkston into this character was a very good choice. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a kid appear so awkward before. Sure, Hollywood can make actors appear like goobs (Corey Haim in Lucas) but in this particular instance only a horrible haircut and knee-high socks were needed. Task two was to find a cute, well-grounded girl for the role of Sam’s soul mate, Annie Dray. Kate Mara fills the role especially well; my only objection was that she actually found Sam to be a worthwhile investment. She is far too cute and smart for him. And of course I have to remark on Teri Polo who plays his English teacher that falls in love with him, Mrs. Moran. I had no idea how attractive she is (I wasn’t impressed with her in Meet the Parents). So after Googling for her, I found out she did a pictorial for Playboy. What a find!
On the downside, some of gags run long – do we really have to see the dog eat Sam’s homework every time? Do we really need to see so many shots of Sam whimsically throwing the basketball into the hoop? The answer is nope; we get the joke after the first instance of it happening. I also felt the ending of the movie was just pieced together to ensure that “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” and “honesty is the best medicine” lessons are driven home. Surely the writers (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) could have put more effort into it.
In the end, for a simple teen comedy, Full of It does an okay job. It’s no Can’t Buy Me Love or Some Kind of Wonderful by a long shot, but it definitely has its funny moments. This flick is worth a view if and only if, there isn’t anything more worthwhile on the rental shelf – you can trust me on this.