Movie Review: 'The First Time' - 2 stars
The First Time
Directed by Jon Kasdan
Starring Dylan O'Brien, Britt Robertson, Victoria Justice
Raging hormones. Blowout parties. Doe-eyed first love. Lovable nerds. It must be high school, or, at the very least, high school as the movies imagine it.
"The First Time," from writer-director Jon Kasdan, recycles all the familiar standards in the story of a senior named Dave (Dylan O'Brien), who meets and falls for a junior named Aubrey (Britt Robertson) outside a party during one fateful, romantic night.
There's not much more to the movie, which tries to evoke the nostalgic spirit of '80s classics like "Say Anything" but comes across as comically cornball.
The drama is lacking. Dave pines for Jane (Nickelodeon's Victoria Justice) and Aubrey is dating older musician Ronny (James Frecheville), but basically our protagonists only have eyes for each other from start to finish, making the movie a march toward the inevitable.
At the same time, Kasdan hands his stars such on-the-nose, innocent dialogue that the characters come across as caricatures of what "good kids" should be. They dream of escaping suburban high school hell, speak earnestly about sex and say things like, "you dig me" while sharing a piano bench.
O'Brien and Robertson are likable actors. You root for their happiness out of a basic human inclination to want nice people to end up together.
But when it comes to insight into being a teen in this day an age, or any of the other traits that set the best high school movies apart, "The First Time" comes up empty.