Adventures of Sebastian Cole (1998)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Domestic Comedy  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

Set in 1983, this period comedy-drama from writer/director Tod Williams recalls the work of author John Irving, particularly the novel and film The World According to Garp (1982). While perhaps a little bit too reminiscent of Irving, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole is that rare independent feature that successfully evokes a meandering, novelistic style without sacrificing clarity, continuity, or entertainment value. Adrian Grenier is a sturdy lead delivering a soulful performance, but the cast standout is undeniably Clark Gregg as Grenier's cross-dressing, tough-loving stepfather Hank. Williams' debut sprawls a bit too much in some places and the overall effect is one of "too much of a good thing." However, it's an overall impressive first time at cinematic bat and marks Williams as a talent to watch; he certainly could do no worse with adapting Irving's material than the creators of Simon Birch (1998).