Los Angeles Times - 03/24/2000
"...It's an old-fashioned story of young love, enlivened by an attractive cast and settings..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/24/2000
"...Leelee Sobieski is really very good in this movie..."
The story of a well-to-do prep school youth, Kelley (Chris Klein), who is sentenced to spend the summer in a small town, rebuilding a diner that he accidentally helped burn down. Once there, he forges a bond with an underprivileged girl, Samantha (Leelee Sobieski), who is living with a terminal illness. As the summer wanes and Kelley must confront the realities of life, he learns a valuable lesson that culminates in his valedictorian speech on graduation day.
In a sleepy Massachusetts town near the Berkshires, Kelley (Klein) is graduating from an exclusive prep school as valedictorian of his class. Out on a joyride in the Mercedes he got as a graduation gift, he struts into the local hangout, Mable's Table--frequented by public school kids but off-limits to preppies--flirts with the waitress, Samantha (Sobieski), and fights with her boyfriend, Jasper (Hartnett). An ensuing drag race results in an accident that causes the diner to explode and burn down. As punishment, Kelley misses graduation and is sentenced by a judge to spend the summer in Putnam, renting a room from Jasper's family, rebuilding the diner, and, "building character." But the only thing Kelley builds is a teenage hunger for Samantha, who is easily romanced away from Jasper. Kelley and Sam spend the summer exploring the woods and reciting their favorite poem, "Birches" by Robert Frost. From there, the story turns tragic.