on April 28, 1989 by Tim Cogshell
Though it aspires to something a good deal more psychologically astute, "Loverboy," the feature directing debut of actor Kevin Bacon ("The Woodsman"), is really just a movie about a disturbed woman acting out badly. Emily (Kyra Sedgwick, Bacon's real-life wife and "Woodsman" co-star) is engaged in a bizarre reversal of the alienation she felt from her own parents through an inappropriate relationship with a very deliberately conceived son. Freud might have found something interesting here, but for most of us it's just a crazy mom movie, whatever contrivances the filmmakers use to make it all seem more profound.

The movie is told through a series of flashbacks as Emily sits in a car with her six-year-old son, Paul (Dominic Scott Kay), who'd prefer to go inside, rather than on one of his mother's imaginary fantasy voyages. The scene goes back to Emily's childhood (10-year-old Emily is played by Sosie Bacon, and she's very good) watching her parents fawn over each other to her exclusion. We see how this plays out in various episodes in Emily's life, including her attempts to become pregnant through science, by random acts of chance and finally through promiscuity. A stranger played by Campbell Scott eventually does the trick. With child in hand, Emily proceeds to exclude everyone from the lives of herself and her son, whom she calls Loverboy (much to his chagrin) -- just as she perceived her parents had excluded her from their world. Paul eventually rebels and Emily reacts in textbook fashion.

The tour-de-force of acting talent that appears here might lead one to believe the material was much coveted. In fact, these people are all friends appearing in cameos for the most part, all doing fine work for the debuting director, all toward no great end. Starring Kyra Sedgwick, Dominic Scott Kay, Kevin Bacon, Blair Brown, Matt Dillon, Oliver Platt, Campbell Scott, Marisa Tomei, Sosie Bacon and Sandra Bullock. Directed by Kevin Bacon. Written by Hanna Shakespeare. Produced by Kevin Bacon, Daniel Bigel, Michael Mailer and Kyra Sedgwick. A Thinkfilm release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 86 min

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