josh lewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
a movie that will make you believe that any young man armed with the right moves and mindset can go out into the world and secure himself a jewish gf. was really moved by the way pta accesses the memory and texture of his own adolescence to capture that awkward line between childhood and adulthood that cuts in both directions. there's hoffman (really, really good!), a 15yo child actor forced to have one foot in adulthood by the demands of the industry and who has adopted an entrepreneurial money mindset as he single-mindedly pursues his hot babysitter like she's a new and exciting business start-up. and then there's alana, one of the best and funniest depictions of 20-something stunted adulthood, who's aimlessly and angrily pursing the next stage of life she knows is expected of her by now but still has one foot firmly held back in the childish antics of gary and his friends because the world of adults is (as we witness in many of the episodic sequences in the back half) frequently just as juvenile and messy but in darker, uglier, older ways.
this dynamic is genuinely beautiful and realized with a level of visual confidence that really captures the way these two react to and try to control their surroundings, the way they push and pull on each other to simultaneously grow and retreat; and for much of its runtime simply highlights the pure joy of this temporary escape from the reality of adults they're generously (and unknowingly) giving each other before they're inevitably interrupted by it again. love how these interruptions range from something sudden like the arrest sequence which is a highlight but also political ones made tangible, like an oil embargo = no gas in the truck, and how pta finds ways to through the action make them respond to something like that in an exciting and childish way because that's the only way they know how to engage with that reality. also love that pta chooses to let them end on this romantic high despite making it as clear as possible in narrative and style that these feelings can only exist within a larger world of impermanence and time, like a school yearbook photo you're looking back on. that's movie magic.