Who's In It: Cameron Bright, Gretchen Mol, Noah Wyle, James Rebhorn
The Basics: Cameron Bright is a somewhat unpleasant 1963 Washington, D.C., teenager who begins a new career in voyeurism when his blonde bombshell neighbor (free-thinking artist Gretchen Mol) appears nude in front of her window. Spying turns to part-time employment as he helps her in her garden. Then employment turns to friendship, lust and... um... spy games. That's because this ride on the one-handed nostalgia train suddenly reveals itself to be a political conspiracy "thriller" and you're asked to jump on board for the idea that the neighbor lady drops acid, is one of JFK's mistresses, that her diary contains national security secrets and that she also found the time amidst all this intrigue to paint a giant portrait of her teen paramour.
What's The Deal: I assume that when Kennedy was assassinated, lots of young people felt as though their innocence was lost in some kind of figurative sense. But I'd like more accurate statistics on how many of them tried to wrangle literal virginity loss out of the situation by offering sex to the neighbor lady who also just happened to be one of the President's regular booty calls. Probably a pretty low number. If everyone had been that resourceful it wouldn't be special enough a situation to become an absurd film plot.
If They Measured Pointlessness Like They Do Earthquakes: Then this would get at least a 7.5 on the scale. It's not so important that every single move of both poorly glued-together storylines has been executed in the same way a million times before. And it's not such a huge crime that the direction is so awful that good actors like Gretchen Mol and Cameron Bright seem emotionless and thoroughly misused. And it's not even that big a deal that it all comes off so totally wrong-headed and creepy. I love wrong-headed and creepy. But when you make wrong-headed and creepy seem irrelevant and inconsequential, then you've got a truly stinky movie in the can.
Even The Furniture Is Weirdly Off-Putting: It's an exceptionally clean and digital-looking 1963 on screen here. Everything is polished and set-like, filtered through a 2009 understanding of the early '60s and forced into representing all of the era instead of feeling like a specific set of homes for a specific story in specific place.
Calculating Cameron Bright's Career: He's already starred in the underseen and satisfyingly unsettling Birth where he was the possibly reincarnated spirit of Nicole Kidman's ex-husband. That he was nine at the time and had a very weird bath scene with Kidman is one of that movie's bizarre hallmarks. Now he's 16 and playing a stoic peeping Tom who hides in Gretchen Mol's closet and watches while she "entertains" gentleman visitors. So at this rate he's due for a third cinematic installment of sexual dysfunction around the year 2017. At least he'll be legal then.