Based on the young adult novel by Wendelin Van Draanen, Rob Reiner has fashioned a nostalgic coming-of-ager which some might feel is reminiscient to his memorable Stand By Me. Though not when it comes to overrall execution and pacing.
Flipped is more of a specialty item (in need of careful marketing), an intermittently witty and moving portrait of small town America in a simpler time (1957) and place (filmed in Michigan) like the film that featured younger actors with varying trajectories like Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Kiefer Sutherland .
That's when second-graders: blue-eyed Bryce and Juli (Ryan Ketzner and Morgan Lily) enter each other's lives.
The latter is unfettered as she gets a fine look at the neighborhood high atop a sycamore tree as her dad (Aidan Quinn) spends more time painting than working in the yard while she helps with the chickens.
On her street, Bonnie Meadow Lane, Bryce and his more conservative, judgmental folks (Rebecca DeMornay, Anthony Edwards) move in.
Juli knows Bryce is the one she wants to be her "first kiss", but he remains at a distance, even unfriendly, until eighth grade. Then, Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) and Juli (Madeline Carroll) begin to have mutual feelings, probably because his perspective has broadened, especially when it comes to stuff like clemency and friendship.
The warmth and pings of growing up, notably in the tweens, is highlighted in the screenplay by Reiner and Scheinman, held together by its lead performers. When it comes to young love with its joys and frustrations, Flipped sweetly and gently relies on its likeable characters with their disparate perspectives with a timelessness as opposites attract.
Those who've enjoyed fare from Fred Savage in "The Wonder Years" or the Anna Chlumsky/Dan Aykroyd film My Girl will be engaged even if Reiner and his crew maybe keep it all too down-to-earth. And, besides the nice interplay between Carroll and McAuliffe, Penelope Ann Miller, Kevin Weisman, and John Mahoney as "Grandpa" Chet offer support in a film which may not earn the success it deserves.