Just Looking | Chicago Reader

Just Looking

A 14-year-old in the Bronx is dying for an opportunity to watch people having sex, or so he writes in an essay, the last assignment of the 1954-'55 school year. Lenny, who thinks his stepfather took up with his mother awfully quickly after his father's death, is sent to Queens to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle—a man Lenny grows to like because he speaks candidly about “adult” matters and doesn't clean up his language just because a kid's around. Lenny also gets to know two girls and a boy who regularly have frank discussions about sex. Yet the movie doesn't fetishize adolescent sexuality. Writer Marshall Karp and director Jason Alexander actually seem to remember something about it, finding the comedy in it without resorting to coyness or sensationalism. They're also careful not to oversimplify the personal morality of several characters, and Alexander's subtle telegraphing of the movie's climax prevents the overwritten sequence from ruining everything. With Ryan Merriman and Peter Onorati. 94 min.

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