Andrew Fleming film. From the ahead-of-its-time bisexual movie Threesome, through his witchy The Craft to that sweet and loony deep-throat political satire Dick to the under-rated Nancy Drew and the marvelously crazy Hamlet 2, the work of this director and sometimes writer is distinguished by its sweetness, smarts, invention and honesty, no matter how crazy things get. (The only Fleming film TrustMovies didn't much care for was his remake of The In-Laws). Now comes perhaps his first honest-to-goodness attempt at a by-the-book "romance" featuring a hero and heroine up against odds that would make lesser characters quake (and many directors and screenwriters run for the hills).
BAREFOOT, which Mr. Fleming (shown at left) has directed from a screenplay by first-timer Steven Zotnowski, is probably as unbelie-vable a premise as you're going to find on screen these days (ex-cept perhaps Winter's Tale), in which the elder son of a wealthy New Orleans family, owing major money to gang-sters and in trouble with just about everyone else, while working off his probation doing maintenance in a mental hospital, has one of those mutual love-at-first-sight moments with a new patient who's just checking in. Well, whatcha gonna do?
Evan Rachel Wood (above) as a girl raised in isolation by a crazy mother and Scott Speedman (below) as the bad boy with a heart of gold (and the visage to match).
J.K. Simmons (as the doctor in charge) and Kate Burton and Treat Williams as Speedman's parents. Actually, every actor with a line to read or a visual moment comes through just fine. But the movie belongs, and rightly so, to its two would-be lovers.