Tag Archives: Adam Rehmeier

Tin Roof, Rusted

Snack Shack

by George Wolf

Four years ago, Adam Rehmeier’s Dinner In America arrived as a delightfully subversive 90s punk rock rom-com. Snack Shack finds the writer/director still navigating the 90s with hilarious R-rated delight, even as the punk rock ‘tude has been usurped by capitalistic dreams.

It’s 1991 in small town Nebraska, and teen best friends A.J. (Conor Sherry) and Moose (The Fablemans‘ Gabriel LaBelle) are coming hot into summer with some big plans. They score at the dog track, market their own homemade beer and are working more than enough angles to please the Gordon Gekko poster hanging on the wall.

But then an unexpected new hustle presents itself. The boys’ older friend Shane (Nick Robinson) – who’s a bit of a local hero thanks to his service in Kuwait – is home to manage the local pool, and he gives the foul-mouthed young Gekkos a tip on how to win the city council’s summer contract for the poolside snack bar.

Before long, business is booming, and that 75-cent upcharge for using ketchup to write “fuck” on a hotdog (a “fuckdog!”)is paying off big time. Will success go to their heads? Will A.J. earn enough cash for his Alaskan trek with Shane, AND earn the respect of his parents (David Costabile and Gillian Vigman, both priceless)?

And what about Brooke, the hot new lifeguard (Mika Abdalla)? Could she actually come between these hometown homies?

You’ll know where some of this is going, but Rehmeier’s script delivers foul, horny hilarity, and outstanding turns by both Sherry and LaBelle stand out in a letter perfect ensemble. The time stamp is again spot on, with Rehmeier’s freewheeling style crafting an infectious mashup of The Way Way Back, Superbad and Project X.

And most importantly, Rehmeier captures that zest for life on the cusp of adulthood without a whiff of pandering or condescension. The boys will do some growing up during this one crazy summer, and the film will grow up with them. Slowly, parents don’t seem quite as lame, the hijinx aren’t as silly and some important lessons about love, sex, death and friendship hang in the air just long enough to hit just hard enough.

Fuckdogs are still funny, though, homie, just like a surprise punch to the nuts.

Delicious and Nutritious

Dinner in America

by Hope Madden

It’s not often you watch a film about a fire starting, drug dealing, lying man on the run from police and his romance with a woman with special needs and think, this is delightful.

But it is. Dinner in America is a delight.

Writer/director Adam Rehmeier delivers an unexpected comedy, sometimes dark, sometimes broad, but never aimless. Simon (Kyle Gallner, remarkable) is a punk rocker hiding from the cops. Patty (Emily Skeggs) is a 20-year-old punk rock fan who lives at home and isn’t allowed to run appliances when she’s alone.

Their stories collide, but by that time Rehmeier and his cast have crafted memorable, believable characters with their own fascinating worlds. Where they go together becomes a little unnerving at times, but Dinner in America surprises with warmth as often as it does with profanity-laced edginess.

Rehmeier’s film calls to mind other misfit romances — Buffalo 66, Eagle v Shark — but sidesteps cliché at every turn. More importantly, or at least delightfully, it embraces the punk rock ethos rather than seeing a coming-of-age opportunity to grow out of it.

Gallner’s magnetic. Whether stalking through suburbia or surrendering to love, he delivers buzzing vitality and surprising depth. Skeggs offers a brilliantly unselfconscious counterpoint. Her awkward, endearing performance is an absolute blessing.

A top-to-bottom impressive ensemble including Pat Healy, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Lea Thompson buoy the central performances. Rehmeier’s sharp yet somehow tender script doesn’t hurt, offering startling opportunities for castmates to shine.

By the time the film digs into its musical numbers, you’re already hooked. In a nice turn of events, the songs are absolutely worth the wait.

Rarely does a film feel as genuinely subversive and darling as Dinner in America, the punk rock rom-com you never knew you needed.