PUMPKIN (2002)

Directed by: Anthony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder
Written By: Adam Larson Broder 
Cinematography: Tim Shurstedt
Editor: Richard Halsey & Sloane Klevin 

Cast: Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan, Sam Ball, Harry Lennix, Nina Foch, Caroline Aaron, Melissa McCarthy, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Michael Bacall, Erin Bartlett, Amy Adams, Michelle Kruseic, Shaun Weiss 

Perky, perfect Carolyn and her Alpha Omega Pi sisters plan to win Sorority of the Year by impressing the Greek Council with a killer charity: coaching mentally challenged athletes for the regional Challenged Games. When Carolyn’s assigned to coach Pumpkin she’s terrified at first, but soon sees in him something she’s never seen before: gentle humanity and honest clarity that touches her soul. To the horror of her friends and Pumpkin’s overprotective mother, Carolyn falls in love, becoming an outcast in the process. As Carolyn’s “perfect life” falls apart, Pumpkin teaches her that perfect isn’t always perfect after all.


This film tries to be subversive in that it tries to satirize 1950s forbidden romance melodramas. While also trying to be one with a few modern sensibilities. As well as more humor that tends to be cynical at times.

Where it seems like the whole world will be shattered because of this romance between a sorority college girl and a mentally challenged man she meets while trying to do charity work.

That at times can be seen as in bad taste, but ultimately remains sweet. 

Most of the characters here come across as stereotypes at first until the film allows them to show more depth. At first, it seems fairly typical but then becomes more subversive.

Though there is sex it is delivered in a more subdued manner, Except for one scene.

The film plays more like a teenage melodrama. Though too mature for them. So it might appeal to college-aged audiences. It is also a film full of bright colors 

The film seems to try to be naughty and a little controversial to gain more interest. Almost like a stunt, but as it goes along proves itself to be a little more conventional.

Though it does show a nice transition for the characters. From living their lives in a kind of young dreamworld and then being awakened to the harsh truth of reality and the world outside of college.

The soundtrack is very catchy and achieves a life of its own. As I was obsessed with it and one particular song immediately after watching the film. It ended up being the thing I remember most about the film:

The reason I discovered it was the cast. Especially Star Christina Ricci. As this was a time when she seemed to be the independent film girl. After BUFFALO’ 66 and THE OPPOSITE OF SEX. Though this doesn’t rise to the same level as those films. Here she gives an earnest performance. As most of the film is built around her character.

This feels like a film that is missing writer/director John Waters’ touch as he might have made it a little more sharp and grotesque to a degree. Though the filmmakers here seem to win for his territory with a little more modesty and sweetness, that can be bitter, with touches of bad taste. Lacking the camp needed. As a throwback to simple times and exposing the ridiculous class traditions with humor 

GRADE: C

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