Growing Op Michael Melski

Growing Op Michael Melski
Unable to escape its Canadian production trappings, with an over-lit television aesthetic and bland direction, Growing Op is amusing, if flawed, falling somewhere in between a theatrical release and straight-to-DVD, quality-wise, and is likely to find its greatest success on subscription movie channels. This story of teen love and rebellion follows Quinn Dawson (Steven Yaffee), a home-schooled teenager whose parents (Rosanna Arquette and Wallace Langham) run a grow op from home, catering to a boutique crowd. While his parents mock the nine-to-five lives of their suburban neighbours, along with Girl Guides, and his sister (Katie Boland) deals weed to the locals, Quinn finds intrigue in the assimilated lifestyles of those around him. When comely Crystal Connors (Rachel Blanchard) moves in across the street, our confused protagonist becomes even more determined to fit in, enlisting himself in the public education system in order to get closer to his new neighbour. As one can expect, comedic high jinks and teen affections ensure, but anyone sensing inconsistencies in character behaviours and reactions might anticipate some sort of twist or pothead paranoid fantasy on the horizon. The concept of offering a contrasting perspective to teen rebellion, with politically radical, weed-dealing parents trying to keep their son from conforming to mass delusion and a life of cultural trappings is inherently refreshing and offers a great deal of amusement and social criticism in sheer conception. And when the film flows organically within this ironic environment it proves amusing and engaging, but struggles when introducing broader comic pratfalls and eventually succumbs to didactics and morality. While these latter follies are distracting and occasionally groan-inducing, as are many of the teen social trappings within the high school environment, they don't ruin what is essentially a feel good dramedy for anyone whose eyebrow has ever been raised by the idiosyncrasies of the moral majority. The DVD release is free of special features, aside from a photo gallery with images from the film. (Mongrel Media)