Too silly and campy in a lot of scenes to be taken seriously as a true crime story, least of all in Franco and his screen partner's ridiculous over-acting and its underdeveloped story progressions. Slater plays everything with his natural edge in balancing the layers of a conflicted identity as a paternal and romantic figure for the young Brent Corrigan, who isn't played with as much depth to engage the story.
2-2.5. Brent Corrigan, himself, is kind of a key issue here. He's a lying narcissist who never falls from his flaws, yet as a 'hero' he's wholly unlikeable. James Franco and Keegan Allen technically play a much more sympathetic, interesting pair of characters than our designated hero and victim. So the final answers to the questions raised by old men possessing young are, at best, morally mixed ones.
It really says something about Hollywood when you can get Christian Slater, Alicia Silverstone, Molly Ringwald, and James Franco to take roles from one of the worst scripts ever to make it to the screen. I've seen better writing in real pornos. Worth it only for the (separate) gay sex scenes featuring Slater and Franco.
The film is nothing spectacular, and tells a true crime story that is really not all that interesting. I didn't find any of the acting or directing particular good. For what it's worth, it kept me watching, but this was almost made-for-TV-esque, and I find the lack of a single nude penis almost offensive.
Allen, Slater and Clayton are all top notch, but the film itself looks cheap and Justin Kelly has no control over its tone. Franco's performance is just silly and the script occasionally dips into after school special style moral grandstanding. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy myself, though!
When the teaser is better than the whole package. Just like porn, this colorful, sweaty, dirrrty... wait. Porn is more colorful, sweaty and dirty than this. This is just shallow and emotionless. Garrett Clayton's sex face has more future in gay porn than hollywood movies.
I expected more from this film. The trailer looked like it was styled after Spring Breakers, but it ended up falling short on narrative and execution. Kelly tries to fit every detail from the book into a film that it feels rushed and calculated. Keegan Allen and James Franco's acting looks awkward and unconvincing.