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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 17, 2012