Inventing the Abbotts is an attractive little period piece about two brothers obsessed with the three rich and pretty Abbott sisters in their town. It has some interesting things to say about small town politics in the 50’s, and about love and about using people, but it meanders around, touching on the interesting points before flitting away to another plot point.
I thought it was paced a little slow, but the performances were all worth watching. It’s not a fun-filled fifties teen fest, nor is it a pre-beat generation angstorama, it’s a little of both. The costume designer stuffs Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly and the other sister into some unflattering costumes. The two boys (Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup) seem as cynical and gritty as the street boys of today.
Much of the drive behind the narrative is supposed to come from a present day voice-over (not unlike The Wonder Years or Stand By Me), but I didn’t really want to hear about what Joaquin’s adult version thought about those times in his youth – I wanted to watch for myself.
Considering how unmotivated some of the action is, the up-and-comers cast in this movie did all they could to justify their part in the script, and that is why this film is worth watching.
It’s gone out of theatres, but if you see it starting on cable (uncensored cable), try and catch it.
MPAA Rating R for sexuality and language.
Release date 5/19/97
Time in minutes 110
Director Pat O’Connor
Studio 20th Century Fox