There’s rarely a moment in Son of Rambow that isn’t polished or primped for prime demographic impact; a whirlwind for those who get nostalgic for British school-chum pictures, Sylvester Stallone actioners, early Eighties camcorders, and breakdance-era outre outfits, Garth Jennings’s ingratiating lark would seem to court snorts of recognition more than active engagement. Yet this backward-looking pint-sized Ed Wood often sails by on the charms of its formula—it’s an appealingly rambunctious boy’s adventure in the guise of a paean to the artistic process (not the other way around). Along with Be Kind Rewind, Jennings’s film may be on the crest of a wave of fondness for the days of videotape, although unlike Michel Gondry’s film, which infantilized a community of urban dwellers by placing them in a cultural vacuum, Rambow uses the creation of taped home movies as a coming-of-age vessel. The children in Rambow, set around 1983 or thereabouts, might as well be wielding digital cameras or pocket-sized cell-phone cams (and in fact, the film might have been less self-consciously precious had it been set in the present).
Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Son of Rambow.