Emma Roberts plays April, the high school “class virgin” and aspiring soccer player on creepy Mr. B’s team (Mr. B is played by the omnipresent James Franco, author of the short stories that this film is based upon). April is getting a little favoritism from Mr. B, and also babysits his kid so he can go out on dates. As her teammates observe, Mr. B may be interested in April for more than her kicking and babysitting abilities. When it comes to her age group, April kind of likes Teddy (Jack Kilmer), and Teddy kind of likes her, but they are wishy-washy about it. Both end up making out with others at an early party scene because they don’t posses the ability to express their feelings to each other. The inability of some teens to just speak up and protect themselves or get what they want is a pervading theme in Palo Alto. Roberts and Kilmer have some great scenes together, scenes that are often clearly improvised. They do a great job of conveying that “I think we are into each other, but we are young and clumsy, and I have no idea how to express myself to you” vibe. This might not be a great movie, but it has a sense of style that shows director Gia Coppola (niece of Sofia and granddaughter of Francis Ford) has promise. It also stands as a nice showcase for Emma Roberts, who should have a long and productive career ahead of her. She and Kilmer create memorable, realistic characters that resonate.
Director: Gia Coppola
Producer: Sebastian Pardo, Adriana Rotaru, Miles Levy and Vince Jolivette
Cast: James Franco, Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff, Zoe Levin, Claudia Levy, Olivia Crocicchia, Jack Kilmer, Chris Messina, Micah Nelson, Andrew Lutheran, Bo Mitchell, Val Kilmer, Keegan Allen, Don Novello, Jacqui Getty and Bailey Coppola