Stupidity takes a break today, thanks to Marjorie and Melissa of MotherTalk, along with Abbey from Mom Central, who have kindly given me the opportunity to review a soon-to-be-released-this-very-weekend film, A Plumm Summer.
Genial and reassuring, this unexpectedly engrossing movie sprinkles enough charm to completely win over both children and adults in equal measure. Given the dearth of family fare, A Plumm Summer should drum up plenty of business.
This fact inspired picture takes place forty years ago in rural Montana where beloved superstar puppet, Froggy Doo (think Elmo of Sesame Street fame), and best buddy magician, Happy Herb (superbly portrayed by an earnest, completely believable, Henry Winkler), have captivated audiences of all ages for generations. Alas, Froggy Doo is kidnapped during a live performance, and so begins the mystery that forms the plot in A Plumm Summer. Who took Froggy Doo?
Five-year-old Rocky (who effortlessly steals every scene he appears in) is greatly distressed to hear of the abduction, and he’s not the only one; the whole town is stunned. Rocky’s adolescent older brother, Elliot, a quiet, somewhat awkward boy, longing for the love of his alcoholic dad, agrees to help Rocky locate the missing TV idol. Elliot is immediately established as a weakling who can’t even jump off a diving board in the community pool. This makes him subject to the mockery of his shortsighted peers. To Elliot’s delight, he’s soon assisted by the smart and sensitive new girl in town; they happily discover that they both have a penchant for teenage detective novels. This comes in quite handy in unraveling the mystery.
The plot deliciously thickens with many twists and turns. Throw in a slew of suspects including the boys’ good-for-nothing father, Happy Herb himself and even Happy Herb’s attention deprived wife. Add two clueless, bumbling FBI agents called in by J Edgar Hoover after a ransom note surfaces, and you’ve got an entertaining detective yarn packed with nonstop action, comedy and adventure. One of my favorite moments occurs when Rocky uses a pay phone to call a prime suspect. Rocky’s very able impersonation of Froggy Doo is enough to send the alleged perpertrator into a frenzy.
By the end of the movie, everyone has learned a lot more than just who kidnapped Froggy Doo.
I couldn’t help but be completely drawn into this unique and delightful retro film that unabashedly arouses the child in all of us. It easily hearkens back to the original Disney films, when Walt was still around.
There are no special effects or CG; just top-notch character development that gently unfolds, crafty directing, fine acting and amiable storytelling. Did I mention the engaging soundtrack? The breath-taking scenery? The fact that parents don’t need to attempt to play octopus during the movie by covering children’s eyes and ears or diverting their attention during indelicate moments because there are no offensive scenes? This movie is a breath of fresh film making.
A Plumm Summer is a kid, family and missing puppet movie of the first order. It opens this coming weekend (April 25, 26 & 27) in select cities (in California, Alabama, Minnesota and Montana). It’s worth checking out.
Many thanks again to Abbey from Mom Central for my personal viewing copy!