(director/writer: Adam Rehmeier; cinematographer: Jean-Philippe Bernier; editor: Justin Krohn; music: Kegan DeWitt; cast: Nick Robinson (Shane), Mika Abdalla (Brooke), Gabriel LaBelle (Moose), Conor Sherry (A.J.), David Constabile (Judge), Gillian Vigman (Jean), June Gentry (Chrissy), April Clark (Leah), Michael Bonini (Randy Carmichael), Christian James (Rodney Carmichael); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Ben Cornwell, Jordan Foley, Nick Smith, Ben LeClair; Republic Pictures/Paramount; 2024)

“As tasty as your favorite fast food place might be.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A coming-of-age comical tale about summer job teenage hustlers. Director and writer Adam Rehmeier (“Dinner in America”/”The Bunny Game”) keeps it as tasty as your favorite fast food place might be.

In 1991, in a sleepy small town in Nebraska, school is out for the summer break.
The 14-year-olds A.J. (Conor Sherry) and Moose (Gabriel LaBelle) are best friends known as schemers. They win the bid in an auction to run the snack shack at the community swimming pool, and write in ketchup “F—” on top of the franks and charge 75 cents extra for the addition. The item brings in more money than even they expected.

The hustlers while on the job drink home-made beer, smoke pot, freely curse and try various cons.

Trouble brews when both guys are attracted to the slightly older beautiful new teenager lifeguard
, Brooke (Mika Abdalla), which threatens their close relationship.

When the slightly older Shane (Nick Robinson), their mentor, returns home from military duty in Kuwait, the boys look up to him.

A.J. changes his loose attitude for a more mature one by trying to please his upstanding parents (
Gillian Vigman and David Costabile) and Brooke. He also strives to keep his close relationship with Moose.

Brooke avoids being the girl who comes between them, as she smoothly relates to both (go high-brow and think Jules and Jim).

It never turns as raunchy as I expected. It’s a simple story filled with comic one-liners and nostalgia for a by-gone era. Though it never gets past its surface exploration of teenage relationships and of growing up, it’s still enjoyable.

REVIEWED ON 4/13/2024  GRADE: B-