Polari (aGLIFF) 2012
By Don Simpson | October 8, 2012
Director: Coley Sohn
Writer: Coley Sohn
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Anna Gunn, Ashley Rickards, Diedrich Bader, Jenny O’Hara, Martin Spanjers, Shanna Collins, Aaron Perilo, Rene Rosado, Drew Droege
As Sassy Pants begins, Bethany’s (Ashley Rickards) high school graduation is rapidly approaching. She has been elected the valedictorian of her home-schooled class…of one. And, no, she does not want to give a speech.
We quickly learn that Bethany’s mother (Anna Gunn) is a tyrannical parent who has been left to her own devices to raise her two children — Bethany and Shayne (Martin Spanjers) — ever since her husband (Diedrich Bader) was caught doing the nasty with one of Bethany’s male teachers. Her husband’s infidelity has left Anna a bitter and jaded woman who no longer trusts anyone. This is precisely why she has home-schooled her kids; additionally, she wants Bethany to remain at home post-graduation and study via an online college. She is doing her best to shelter her children from the overtly dishonest world. The problem is, her over-protective nature is smothering Bethany and Shayne.
Bethany is 18-years old and she wants to experience the world. She wants to find a job, attend fashion school in San Francisco. Heck, she has never even kissed a boy. Eventually, Bethany is faced with no other option than to hop a bus to the only other place that she knows — her father’s house. That is where Bethany finds her father shacked up with a significantly younger boy toy, Chip (Haley Joel Osment), with whom Bethany becomes fast friends.
Sassy Pants features a few really amazing performances, especially the sublimely effeminate Haley Joel Osment (he wears the sassy pants of the film, and not much else) and Anna Gunn as the queen bitch of a mother. Sure those characters might be humorously exaggerated caricatures of people, but Sassy Pants does not exist in any sort of reality. That, however, is also my biggest gripe with writer-director Coley Sohn’s approach to this story — I wish a bit more subtlety was used. Of course any criticisms are instantly offset by the strong female protagonist that Sohn presents to us. The characterization of Bethany is pretty darn great; she is a strong-willed young woman who has been held back for so long and really wants to grow into an independent woman. For that reason alone, Sassy Pants is a must see for teenage girls who feel like they are being held back by their parents.