Thanks to a cinematic intervention by Haley Joel Osment as Chip, a helpful, hopeful, and sparkly eyed best-gay-friend type, Sassy Pants gets rescued from the category of yet one more inconsequential coming-of-age tale. Hip homeschooling sketches and a nasty-mouthed grandma (Jenny O'Hara) also help in Bethany's (Ashley Rickards) story—she's an 18-year-old stuck at home with a control freak of a mom. Chip is her dad's (Diedrich Bader) new lover; gay and girl bond when she visits them. And when Chip says "Girlfriend!" to Bethany, you know reclamation is at hand: father-kid relations, or clothing shopping at "Jail Bait." Good thing, because Mom (Anna Gunn) is constantly angry at her ex, even dumping on Bethany's choice of a bright-red satiny graduation dress: "That looks like something your father would wear!" Overplaying the moralizing and domesticity, Gunn makes June Cleaver seem a libertine; too bad John Waters didn't guest direct the at-home scenes. Despite the improvisational air and occasional messy plotlines common to first-time efforts—by writer/director Coley Sohn—Sassy Pants does show that Bethany has her head screwed on right: She's hard-working, sensible, and with enough self-esteem to hightail it when Mom goes berserk. With its positive gay images, and even a perfectly executed two-step line dance, Sassy Pants is a feel-good movie for girls of both sexes.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.