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The Independent Critic

Johnny Simmons, Odette Annable, Jim O'Heir, Ethan Suplee and Frances Fisher
Richard Keith

 "Grow Up Already" a Funny and Sweet Short Film 
As a paraplegic with more than a few body function issues of my own, I was all prepared for Richard Keith's comic short film Grow Up Already to make light of a topic that isn't much of a joke for those who have to deal with it in "real life" on a daily basis. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by a film that is funny yet tender and sweet and insightful without ever crossing that line that could turn it into a tasteless film.

Grow Up Already is a short film about a young man named Andy (Johnny Simmons) and the girl he's determined to win back (Odette Annable). Unfortunately, perhaps, this wasn't your usual young love break-up. Andy has a whole heck of a lot of growing up to do, living his life as a toddler in a grown-up world (and body!). There's lots of room to make fun here, but writer/director Richard Keith does a terrific job in the span of a mere 10-minute short of finding both the gentle humor in the film and the true heart of the matter.

It's simple, really. Andy needs to grow up, and he's got even farther to go than did Billy Madison. That's a long way. While Grow Up Already is essentially a one joke film, at a running time of right about ten minutes it's one joke that remains fresh, funny and sweet throughout the film. The film is just wrapping up its festival run with a screening at the Charleston International Film Festival in March before its worldwide release on in April.

Indianapolis moviegoers may remember the short film from its appearance at the 2011 Heartland Film Festival, and the film has also been seen at LA Shorts Fest, Atlantic Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival and others.

It would be hard not to admire Grow Up Already and the truly "go for it" cast that brings the film to life without a hint of that tongue-in-cheek approach that would likely doom the film. While there's never any doubt that the film's intended as a comedy, there's a sincerity about the film that hooks you in and keeps you watching no matter how ludicrous it seems that the beautiful Odette Annable could ever find herself hooked into such a situation.

Johnny Simmons, whom you may remember from 2012's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is terrific as Andy in bringing out both the humor and the heart in equal doses. Odette Annable manages to make the unbelievable believable without serving up as much as a wink. Supporting players Ethan Suplee, Jim O'Heir and Frances Fisher round out a fine celeb cast showing up in this entertaining short film.

The music from William Gramling and Conrad Pope is a spirited selection that never lets you forget that it's okay to laugh, while Darcy Scanlin's production design and Bo Hakala's camera work both work together to give the film a look of normalcy in a quite abnormal situation.

For more information on the film, visit the official website. Be sure to watch for the film once it's released on IndieFlix!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic