While Maturing Youth isn't something I'd typically watch, I'm glad I did. The story hit pretty close to home. I'm a thirty-something, and I have a pretty special kid in my life. While the rest of Roger's narrative doesn't exactly reflect mine, it's still nice to know that I'm not the only one struggling. Life gets hard, and life can be that much harder when you have two little eyes following your every move.
Maturing Youth opens with Roger, a cereal-loving slacker, who wants nothing more than to "play doctor" with the lovely ladies that pass by his porch. At this point in the short, I didn't know what to make of what I was watching. The dialogue was iffy, and the jokes weren't hitting like they should. Don't get me wrong, there are shades of greatness here, but it isn't until when Sadie joins the picture that the film takes a huge step in quality.
So, Sadie arrives, and immediately the exchanges between characters improve. Sadie informs Roger that he has a child, and the true message begins to take shape. Though, the tone quickly shifts from serious to quirky when Roger discovers that Sadie has abandoned Junior with him. The short is looking up, as we get a little bit of a Big Daddy situation happening. Roger does a great job filling Sandler's shoes until the short jumps back to serious.
I really don't want to spoil the ending, but what I can say is that the remainder of the short doesn't exactly fit. While the Doctor character is probably the highlight of this piece, the whole supernatural bit doesn't exactly work. While I can appreciate the outside the box way of storytelling, the tone shifts so drastically that it felt like I was watching something completely different, and ultimately the message doesn't pack the same punch because of which. What should be a wake-up call to the viewer, ends up feeling more like a confused religious lecture.
In conclusion, Maturing Youth isn't the most original idea, but it is worth a watch. What initially felt like a "dose of reality" Duplass bros. short quickly evolves into a new-age Scrooge-like tale about a regular guy trying to be a Dad. It isn't bad, it just needs a bit more polish. That being said, there were a lot of good ideas here, perhaps Maturing Youth would work better as a feature-length film. With an extra hour to "mature" - it'd definitely have enough time to better prepare you for the unusual finale.