Oh man, Rob Reiner has completely lost touch, and his cinematic slump continues with this period piece/adolescent romance set in 1963. Madeline Carroll plays Juli Baker, a sixth grader in love with Bryce (Callan McAuliffe), the new boy across the street. We see their budding friendship through both of their perspectives, with scenes often repeated as the performers trade places on the narration and describe the events through their eyes. This is all just fine, and the duo, especially Carroll, are appealing and engaging performers. It’s the adults Reiner completely botches the job with, making actors like Anthony Edwards, Aidan Quinn and Penelope Ann Miller look like lost amateurs. Only John Mahoney as Juli’s sweet granddad emerges unscathed on the adult side. The problems are mostly in the strange pacing, but I just got the sense that Reiner steered them in ill-advised, stereotypical and melodramatic directions. Too bad, because the kids show great poise with their work, keeping their side of the story tolerable.

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