Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Stars: Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones, Taye Diggs, Sean Nelson, Duane Finley, Trent Cameron, Malinda Williams, Sanaa Lathan
The Wood is a rarity in the pantheon of time-to-grow-up cinema—it's a film in which the same characters come of age more than once.
The central trio of best friends first grow up as teenagers, experiencing all of high school's good-time highs (gymnasium dances, girlfriends, shooting the shit in local pizzerias) and its painful lows (breakups, rejection) in a series of flashbacks. In writer-director Rick Famuyiwa hands, though, the familiar coming-of-age beats are handled with fun-loving verve, thanks to the endearingly naturalistic performances from his young actors (Sean Nelson, Duane Finley, Trent Cameron) and several genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.
The second coming of age, meanwhile, happens in the present, where one of the fellas (played by Taye Diggs) is suffering from an obnoxious case of cold-feet on the morning of his wedding. His two pals (Omar Epps and Richard T. Jones) are forced to snap him out of his funk, and, in the process, they all embrace adulthood.
That's what you call a two-for-one deal. —MB