By now, the Lifetime original movie is a genre unto itself: female-focused, socially conscious, and with a cast containing either an award-winning serious actress shopping for an Emmy or a down-on-her-luck former network TV star dreaming of a comeback. In this case, the marquee name is Marcia Gay Harden, who takes time out of her busy Oscar-bait schedule to dramatize hysterical middle-class fears about teenaged sexuality. Mostly, that means lots of earnest chats with her character's daughter and the odd bit of impassioned oratory at PTA meetings -- acting chores Harden could perform in her sleep. As for the rest of She's Too Young, it's an uneasy mixture of titillation and alarmist sloganeering. In this post-Kids, post-Thirteen world, the scenes of pubescent sexual abandon are nowhere near as edgy as they'd like to be, especially given the tameness of TV ratings standards. Richard Kletter's script leavens the hand-jobs and hand-wringing with the usual John Hughes truisms about the high-school pecking order. But Alexis Dziena manages to locate the vulnerability underneath her character's tiresome honor-roll tics. Likewise, as a pair of seemingly insolent "sluts," Megan Park and Miriam McDonald make the most of thin material. Despite its shrill message and its relatively choppy production values, then, She's Too Young manages to impress, if only because its able cast labors so hard to enliven such leaden material.
by Brian J. Dillard review