Snack Shack - a teen coming of age comedy drama set in 1991

The early 1980’s saw the rise of two types of films centred on teens – there was the bawdy comedies, ‘Porkies’ and there was the kind of ‘adulthood is just around the corner’ with films like ‘Risky Business’. Snack Shack sits somewhere in between the two with its two leads A.J. (Conor Sherry) and Moose (Gabriel LaBelle) who right from the start have skived off school and are smoking at the dog track bookies and winning bets. They’re both fourteen years old but their business acumen already has them brewing beer and  summer 1991 in Nebraska is their playground.

A.J. is the one from a respectable family who are less than happy about the influence that Moose has but both happily engage in an adolescent hedonism in a seemingly carefree summer funded by their little business deals that sees them able to buy their favourite trainers without worry. That both actors are in their 20’s doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of those early scenes. And a nice little temporary business venture comes their way when a life guard friend tells them of the Snack Shack at his pool that’s up for rental.

Neither are quite the business minded men they think they are and hugely overpay when they bid on the summer rental and now they have to put their back into recouping their, or actually A.J’s savings, they spent getting the lease and into this are two High School jocks who bully them and A.J’s emerging romance with Brooke (Mika Abdalla) further distracts him.

Brooke’s nickname for A.J. is ‘S**t Pig  , a moniker that trips off the tongue and falls flat on its face being neither funny, alliterative or having any rationale beyond just plain old abuse. It’s the language in the film that grates. Both A.J. and Moose seem incapable of saying a sentence without dropping F-bombs which even extends as far as the hot dogs they serve (or F**k dogs as they’re called because that’s what they write in ketchup on them for an extra75c). Though teens are almost relentlessly potty mouthed it doesn’t make them any more endearing blurting out such words.

With the film being episodic with the duos various escapades which at best are mildly amusing rather than laugh out loud funny and it’s the final act that sees them crash down to earth with a devastating incident. Both leads wholly invest in their roles with moments that audiences might well identify with when it comes to romance and Snack Shack captures those long hot summers when High school was readily forgotten and tentative first romances were always a possibility.

related feature : Molly Ringwald teen comedy, ‘Sixteen Candles’ – BLU RAY review

related feature : ‘All My Friends Hate Me’ – Tom Palmer & Tom Stourton and the Birthday from Hell

Here’s the Snack Shack trailer…….

Available to Buy on Digital on June 3rd and to rent from June 17th 2024


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