Published Nov 20, 2008Growing Op comes off like a family-friendly, Canadian version of Weeds, done as a low budget film. Though, instead of the perspective of a hot single mother, the Dawson familys youngest child, Quinn, provides the viewpoint for this ganja-growing tale.
Quinn has been home schooled his whole life by parents who grow marijuana for a living. They dont just have a grow op though, their whole home is the grow op, with plants spread throughout almost every room. Its kind of ridiculous but the affable quirkiness of Rosanna Arquette and Wallace Langham as Quinns parents makes the lack of reality easier to swallow.
Quinns sister, Hope, embraces life without traditional school, vicariously living out high school drama through the students she sells pot to. But Quinns feelings of seclusion are amplified when a cute new girl moves in next door and asks him to help her get to school. He pretends to be a student and walks her to school where he decides to actually enrol in order to seem normal and pursue his friendly crush.
School leads to house parties and Quinn not knowing how to socialize or what to talk about. Some poorly defined advice on having a "thing to talk about leads to Quinn exercising his well developed knowledge of marijuana strains to impress the partygoers.
The third act of the movie kind of goes off the rails, introducing a severe plot twist thats sensible to explore but mostly demolishes the tone of the film and makes a lot of the prior experience feel like a contrivance to get to this preachy conclusion.
Growing Op is a well-acted piece with enough charm and humour to make it an enjoyable viewing but writer/director Melski should have decided if he was making a comedy or a drama and balanced the script appropriately. (Mongrel Media)