Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde (1993)
Directed by John Shepphird
Cast: Scott Wolf, Maureen Flannigan, Bentley Mitchum, Don Novello, Tom Bower.
1993 90 minutes
Rated: (for violence, gore, profanity, sex, and nudity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, November 16, 1998.
"Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde," is an obvious take-off of the original, "Bonnie and Clyde," story, about a pair of lovers who went on a crime spree, but it is set in modern-day times and involves two teenagers.
Clyde (Scott Wolf) is a dull, bored high school student until the night Bonnie (Maureen Flannigan) walks into his life while he is working at a fast food restaurant. The strange thing is, he is not captured by her beauty, but by the fact that he catches her stealing his lighter that he allowed her to use to light a cigarette. Clyde persues her constantly until she finally gives in, learns that he is also a kleptomaniac, and in order to escape their unhappy family lives, decide to go on a crime spree, first by stealing various items at small stores. As their relationship heats up, they realize that they are running out of money, and so they begin to plan a bank robbery.
The arc that, "Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde," takes is more or less predictable, and we know from the start that the story is inevitably heading for a tragic conclusion. But don't all stories about forbidden lovers end in tragedy?
Watching the film, it strangely reminded me of something that director Gregg Araki (1995's "The Doom Generation," and 1997's "Nowhere") might have made, as it has many of the same elements: sex between teenagers, violence, occasionally exaggerated gore, crime, and an offbeat sense of humor. Ultimately, John Shepphird is not as distinctive a director as Araki, and the characters and the story did not enthrall me as much as I would have liked. While an Araki film always has an air of mystery or unpredictableness, "Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde," feels more conventional.
The performances by Scott Wolf (currently on TV's "Party of Five") and Maureen Flannigan are perfectly realized, if anything. Wolf succesfully projects the feeling of vulnerability that is needed for his inexperienced character, and is matched wonderfully with newcomer Flannigan, as the wealthier, but more streetwise one. Since it is these two characters who are in almost every scene, the film is helped immeasurably by their charismatic presence, so much so that it was almost enough for me to be won over on my overall opinion of the film. The happenings around the characters, however, have been done so many times before that I really did not see any point for the film to even be made. The screenplay, although occasionally entertaining, needed more of a focus for it to be as effective as the climax wanted it to be.
"Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde," is not a bad film, nor is it a boring one. It is consistently interesting, to be sure, and is brought to life solely due to the two main actors, but when all is said and done, there is simply not enough substance left for the film to be partcularly worthwhile.
© 1998 by Dustin Putman