Making the Grades
Remember that food seasoning product that was big in the sixties? On TV commercials, just a little sprinkle would make anything taste so good, that a trumpet fanfare would sound when you ate it. Lately Hollywood has the same attitude about music from the sixties. Take any old script, throw in a couple of good solid sixties hits, and it's like memory stimulants for us boomers. And while we're tapping our toes to the tunes, we are less likely to notice other missing ingredients -- like a story.
Now And Then fits this formula perfectly. Four big name female stars open the movie by recalling the vow that they made when they were twelve to always be there for each other. Then we are dropped into a sixties flashback scene for the next 80 minutes to see this important vow, and finally the biggies come back in the present time, repeat the vow, have a baby, and the credits roll.
If you are wondering if this is a movie for 12-year-olds or parents (the video box isn't very clear), the PG-13 rating should be your first clue. The second is most 12-year-olds will bore with the story in a hurry because they won't remember the songs. As for content, sexual discussions are plentiful and include the typical overdone scene of the paranoid mother trying to teach her daughter the facts of life, followed by the girls' first glimpse of a naked boy. Another element that may be of concern is the pastime of trying to bring people back from the dead.
The bright spot of this movie was the performances of the four younger girls that play these characters in their adolescent versions. Christina Ricci, Thora Birch, Gaby Hoffmann, and Ashleigh Aston Moore held together what little story they were offered, and should have had the opportunity to finish what they started. But great performances and catchy sixties melodies still can't save a film that suffers from too much seasoning and not enough meat.