Paul Clinton of CNN
calls Igby Goes Down
the best coming of age film since The Graduate
. Given to overstatement much, Paul? In addition to The Graduate
readily invites comparison to "Catcher in the Rye," as well as the films of Wes Anderson and Whit Stillman. The directorial debut of Burr Steers (who happened to appear in Stillman's The Last Days of Disco
) is better than anything Stillman has produced, but not as good as Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson's collaborations. Igby
is full of familiar characters: the emotionally distant, pill-addicted society mother (Susan Sarandon); the successful money grubbing entrepeneur (Jeff Goldblum) with a beach house in Long Island and a mistress in downtown New York; pretentious New York drug addicts cum
artists (Amanda Peet and Jared Harris) and the usual assortment of disaffected teens and young adults, as portrayed by Kieran Culkin (Igby), Ryan Phillipe (Ollie), and Claire Danes (Sookie). In fact, Steers relies on his characters' inherent familiarity to take the place of any real character development. The result is a slick, superficial treatment of fairly facile targets of satire. In this respect, it reminded me of Stillman, except that it was funnier and better written than his films. When the movie tried for drama, I was reminded how far short it fell of Rushmore
and The Royal Tennenbaums
. It simply asks for no emotional investment from its audience and, as a result, the dramatic moments wash over us.
is well worth the price of admission. It's often very funny and it's perfectly acted by everyone involved. (Culkin reminded me of Robert Downey, Jr.) A nice, but not impressive, debut for Steers.