This is a heart-warming screwball comedy about a guy eager to escape his small town past. He is drawn reluctantly back into his previous life and is able to see things with a fresh perspective and find some resolution. It´s a funny and gentle drama which is well written and directed and makes for enjoyable viewing.
Peter Davis left the small town of Summerville behind for a life in the city but he returns home to settle his father´s estate. At first he has a big chip on his shoulder about his father who was loved by everyone in town and was a local hero and softball player. Softball is the local obsession and the colourful characters of the town are keen for Peter to take his father´s place but he shrugs them off.
He re-unites with his redneck childhood friend Rocky who doesn´t seem to have changed at all since high school and Peter is eager to sell up his father´s home and get out of town. However when he meets local female mechanic Sam he is tempted to stay a little longer and soon gets drawn into the softball scene. The eccentric characters he left behind welcome him back with open arms and Peter learns that his father wasn´t such a bad guy after all.
This is a well written film with some good laughs and a genuine point to make about coming to terms with your roots. It occasionally threatens to veer into schmaltzy territory but is saved from becoming overly sentimental with a string of corny gags. It has an authentic feel and you suspect the filmmakers drew on personal experience as elements of the set-up ring true in a way that the Hollywood takes on this kind of tale never do.
The weak link is the acting and some of the supporting cast struggle to make their characters believable. Luckily however the leads are very good especially Wesley Murphy as the disturbed redneck Rocky who has some serious emotional baggage. Casey Payne also gives a good performance as Peter and Allison Varnes is satisfyingly downbeat and deadpan as his love interest Sam.
The direction from Brooks Benjamin is very effective and he gives you a real feel for small town life. This is only his second feature and he shows an obvious talent which is likely to grow with further experience. While some of the gags misfire slightly most of them find the mark and comedy is tougher to pull off than it looks so this is a great achievement.
Looking at the cover for this film I was worried about the potential cheese factor and thought I may be in for an emotionally touching tale which would have me reaching for the sick bucket. In the event I was very pleasantly surprised, it is an emotional tale but it also has some integrity and there were moments of comedy that genuinely made me laugh. Boys of Summerville is a warmly considered and well made movie and I hope it finds the audience it deserves.