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All I Want
2002 - R - 93 Mins.
Director: Jeffrey Porter
Producer: Boaz Davidson
Written By: Charles Kephart
Starring: Elijah Wood, Franka Potente, Mandy Moore, Aaron Pearl, Andrew Jackson
Review by: Joe Rickey
Elijah Wood, the man who is short enough and young-looking enough to pass as a sixteen year-old, is now known around the world for a little saga of films called 'The Lord of the Rings.' Before appearing in that trilogy of films Wood appeared in such films as 'The Faculty', 'Flipper', 'The Good Son' with Macaulay Culkin, and 'Deep Impact.' The only film he really had what could be considered a starring role in was 'The Faculty.' The point is, while he always was well liked and considered to be a solid actor; Elijah Wood became a known commodity almost instantly after the release of the first 'Lord of the Rings' film. Seizing the opportunity to take advantage of both this and Mandy Moore’s increasing popularity as an actress (not to mention Franka Potente becoming known for The 'Bourne Identity') Columbia Pictures decided that it was time to pull a film that just happened to include the three aforementioned actors, retitle it, and release it straight to DVD. That film is 'All I Want,' also known as 'Try Seventeen'.

The film’s plot concerns recent college dropout Jones (Elijah Wood). He, a struggling writer, made the decision to quit school because of being constantly ridiculed by fellow classmates and even strangers. He moves into an apartment. He soon finds out that the other tenants include a woman (Franka Potente) recovering from a break-up with her boyfriend along with an aspiring actress (Mandy Moore), hoping to use stage as a springboard for a career in film. He quickly becomes romantically entangled with both of them as he tries to discover just where his place in the world is destined to be. Jeffrey Porter directs the film.

'All I Want' certainly had the potential to be a good mix of romance, light drama, and quirky comedy, but it is not to be. It is true that the leads all do their best with shoddy material; making the film at least bearable and watchable when it definitely would have been an utter mess with lesser talent in front of the camera. Wood is very likable. Potente is funny in a quirky way; Moore fits the bill as attractive and equally quirky herself. Too bad the film is otherwise a mess.

The problems with 'All I Want' start with the way in which the film is directed. Porter is obviously rather inexperienced in building a narrative as the film jumps from unrelated scene to unrelated scene at a completely random pace. Scenes sometimes don’t even seem to conclude before the film whisks the viewer to another disjointed scene. Individual scenes appear to work on their own before you realize that each scene usually ends up standing on its own and not as part of a cohesive experience. The worse types of scenes in this film are the ones involving Wood’s character imagining the plots of his stories unfolding inside his head. They are completely irrelevant and succeed only in pulling the viewer away from the film’s real conflict.

All of this makes for a frustrating viewing experience that one should rightly avoid at all costs. Even the actors can’t salvage such a mess.

Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

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