Absolute Beginners 1.0 stars

I remember that wonderful summer when the teenage miracle reached full bloom -- it was 1958, in London, and for the first time in history, according to the original novel by Colin MacInnes, "kids" had become "teenagers." The vehicle for this slice of sociology is a triple-scoop youth musical, with hot fudge, chopped nuts, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries -- something, in sum, to be taken with a spoon and a bib. The production team, prop people, and costume designers have come up with a fine collection of cultural artifacts, and the color often approximates the kitsch postcards and Hollywood movies of the period. You could put together a nice, fat, coffee-table picture-book of individual frames. But the cheek-by-jowl production numbers provide no time for contemplation; and the complacent, hand-me-down social commentary provides no need for it. Perhaps this doesn't matter so much, until the movie ventures at last into the topic of race riots. With Eddie O'Connell, Patsy Kensit, James Fox, and David Bowie; directed by Julien Temple. 1986.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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