Earnest Teen Comedy ‘Summer of 8’ Can’t Find Much New in Coming of Age


Anybody who underestimates the humor and intelligence of John Hughes’s high school comedies should watch teen sex drama Summer of 8, a lame coming-of-age story about eight college-bound eighteen-year-olds who spend their last day together drinking beer and daydreaming about fucking each other.

The characters — created by neophyte writer-director Ryan Schwartz — might have the same abandonment issues and sexual cravings as the adolescent protagonists of Hughes’s Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. But Schwartz’s callow teens are as inarticulate as potheads as they chatter on about topics like tight vaginas and systemic sexism.

Pseudo-soulful introvert Aiden (Michael Grant) makes no sense when his evidence for why he and his BFFs will inevitably reunite has something to do with the idea that typewriter-wielding monkeys would eventually reproduce Hamlet. And don’t expect major insights from broody group leader Jesse (Carter Jenkins), an aspiring poet who confesses his greatest fear in a journal entry to his dead dad: “Once you’ve fallen in love, the falling-in-love part is over.”

Schwartz’s teens often express their innermost feelings through unrevealing clichés. Flirty extrovert Serena (Bailey Noble) mounts Aiden and gasps, “How did I not see it before? How did I not see you?” Extreme close-ups of Noble’s broad smile only make Serena look as inebriated as she sounds. Summer of 8 may be as sincere as a Hughes movie, but it’s as shallow as a kiddy pool.

Summer of 8

Written and directed by Ryan Schwartz


Opens September 2, Cinema Village