ALL THE REAL GIRLS
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 19, 2010
“All The Real Girls” is comparable to a joke that only a handful of people will get. Those who do not get it will disregard it and never return. The few that do, however, will cherish it and pass it along to all who will respect it. Most know David Gordon Green for his recent success in “Pineapple Express,” but Green was producing this masterpiece before he was toying with the Judd Apatow crew. “All The Real Girls” is Green’s version of “Varsity Blues,” with family, friends, and young love encapsulating a considerable portion of the film (minus the football aspect of “Blues”).
Paul Schneider gains my utmost respect, delivering a career-starting performance as Paul, a ladies’ man who finally meets the right girl in Noel (Zooey Deschanel). There are no flourishing montages where they meet out of the blue, where all their friends support them, or the standard rigmarole that most romantic comedies deliver. Instead, their falling in love is raw and natural. Noel is Paul’s best friend, Tip’s (Shea Whigham) sister, which causes friction between Paul and Tip. Paul reassures Tip that despite his sorted sexual history, he has the best intentions, but Noel proves disloyal with a new haircut and a new perspective on life.
Zooey Deschanel proves that she was born to break hearts long before “500 Days of Summer,” and with her Southern drawl, you cannot help but fall in love just as Paul does in “All The Real Girls” and just as Tom does in “500 Days Of Summer.” Likewise, you cannot help the devastation experienced when her characters reveal their true natures, and Zooey wrenches at your heart in a way only she can.
Even Danny McBride shows the origin of his offbeat humor. In a much younger, much slimmer version of himself, years before his collaboration with Green in “Pineapple Express” and the HBO television show “Eastbound & Down,” he proves that he works exceptionally well with Green.
“All The Real Girls” is rich with deep, subtle humor geared at a select few who get the joke. (Why do they stand blasé in the bowling alley, attached around each other’s waists? Because that is what people from small towns do, it is that uninteresting!) The ending of the film, a confrontation between Paul and his dog, who is reluctant to go swimming, is the perfect way to conclude the film, relying on the humor that only Paul Schneider appears to be able to deliver under the direction of David Gordon Green. “All The Real Girls” is an investment and a leap of faith, but given the opportunity, the film will satisfy humor that you never realized existed inside of you.
February 14, 2003
David Gordon Green
David Gordon Green
Paul Schneider (story by)
Sony Pictures Classics
(for language and some sexuality)