Little Boy Blue

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Little Boy Blue

A Jennifer Lynchian look at the hideous evil lurking behind the innocent facade of small-town America, Little Boy Blue stars Ryan Phillippe as a young Texan faced with a serious dilemma: Should he go away to college with his pretty, supportive girlfriend (Jenny Lewis), or should he stay at home, where he can continue to have sex with his mother (Nastassja Kinski) and try to avoid the wrath of his drunken, abusive Vietnam-veteran father (John Savage, doing a horrible Dennis Hopper impersonation)? It's a difficult decision, and one many of us will have to face at some point in our lives, but Phillippe faces it head on. In a scene likely to inspire nods of recognition from viewers at home, he tells Lewis that he needs to stop seeing her because, you know, he's having sex with his mother. It's an unintentionally hilarious moment, but mostly, Little Boy Blue is just trance-inducingly moronic. A throwback to the early '90s, when David Lynch's influence was keenly felt in a slew of direct-to-video films concerning the Freudian terror that lurked behind every white picket fence, Little Boy Blue is a sluggish, lurid drama that takes forever to reveal a series of shocking surprises that attentive viewers will be able to predict 15 minutes in. The film is so turgid, so overheated, and so devoid of subtlety or self-awareness that it almost always seems on the verge of self-parody. Like any self-respecting David Lynch knock-off, it contains shocking secrets within shocking secrets, lies within lies, and scandals within scandals, but the film's characters are such poorly written dullards that it's impossible to care about any of them, particularly the frequently unclothed Phillippe, who at least has the decency to disappear from Little Boy Blue relatively early on. Unfortunately, his absence provides the impetus for a final, equally uninteresting subplot involving a grotesquely over-the-top Shirley Knight as a distraught mother who has both a dark secret and a shocking revelation of her own.