North Hollywood

This skateboarding film, directed by Mikey Alfred, who also acts in it, has several things going for it. Interestingly this film was produced by musician Pharrell Williams. Not sure what his link is to the film…is he a skater or just trying to branch out? Besides that star power you also get known acting entities like Vince Vaughn, Miranda Cosgrove, Blake Anderson, and Gillian Jacobs. To top it off there are cameos by professional skaters like Andrew Reynolds, Louie Lopez, Kader Sylla, Sunny Suljic, Na-Kel Smith, Zach Saraceno, Kevin White, and Jason Dill. With skateboarding undergoing another surge in popularity and being introduced as a new sport in the Tokyo Olympics this year there might be some more eyes on this low budget film than there might have otherwise been.

Living in North Hollywood with his blue coller father Oliver (Vince Vaughn – Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up), high school grad Michael (Ryder McLaughlin – from television’s Ballers) has dreams of making it as a pro skater. This despite the protests or rather disgust from the part of his father, who wants his son to continue on to college. This causes some tension at home.

Outside of home things are also up and down for Michael. While competing in a skate contest, Michael is noticed by by two pro skaters. But his time on a water polo team comes to an end after he is late for a practice and then getting into a fight with a teammate. Michael decides to quit the team. Another up is his meeting Rachel (Miranda Cosgrove – from television’s iCarly), who he begins a relationship with. With all this uncertainty the question remains whether Michael will go to college or try and make his dream a reality.

This is the first film for Mikey Alfred, one of the people behind skate company Illegal Civilization, and often that inexperience shows. Some of his decisions on how to tell the story are questionable. Though, it has to be said that the script here hampers it all. Not deep at all, not that it necessarily has to be, but, like any film, you do need some kind of plot going on. Worse than that is that huge parts of the film are rather silly while others serve no purpose not moving the story forward. In the end the scenes all seem rather randomly stitched together with little cohesion.

While the film does have its flaws, you cannot help but be somewhat won over by its enthusiasm. This is obviously a passion project by many involved. That plus the decent visuals make this a coming of age film which skate fans will find themselves enjoying.

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