Licorice Pizza


“Licorice Pizza”; the two hour and thirteen minute movie equivalent to a maze with no way of exiting. Scene after scene the screen is blasted with color and wardrobes cut from the pages of 70’s magazines. There is seldom a dull moment throughout the entirety of the picture but that fun fast paced feel doesnt mask the lack of a secure plot or the confusing dialogue. 

The film follows 15 year old Gary (Cooper Hoffman) and 25 year old Alana (Alana Haim) as they flit around different business opportunities and fits of jealous rage. Although the tone is silly and sweet, the age difference between Alana and Gary is concerning and makes the movie hard to enjoy. Their relationship is predominantly innocent but it is no question that if the roles were reversed and it was an adult man flirting with an underaged teen girl the movie would never see daylight.

The two meet at Gary’s highschool on picture day where Alana is working at,Tiny Toes, the company supplying the cameras for yearbook. The pair hit it off immediately with Gary’s boastful attempts at winning Alana’s affections and her bashful snips at his age. As their friendship blooms and they weave themselves into each other’s lives it is apparent to the audience that they are developing feelings for each other that don’t meet legal standards. Instead of acting on their taboo crushes, and breaking the law in the name of love, they remain business partners and make a name for themselves selling miscellaneous items together. 

Gary, being the young hustler he is, recruits his gang of other teenaged friends along with his “lady friend” Alana and sets off to make his million in the world. The group goes off together delivering waterbeds in a large moving truck. While driving the truck runs out of gas and Alana performs what might be the coolest scene in cinematic history. Gary pushes the truck down a hill and without flinching Alana steers backwards down a hill perfectly until she turns it around and gets to the nearest gas station. 

The adventure and youthful sparks of imagination paint the movie wonderfully pulling the audience in and convincing them to leave behind the doubts they held upon seeing this strange relationship dynamic. Alana Haim does a brilliant job portraying an adult grasping onto the last licks of childhood she is slowly coming away from as she ages up. Her awkward encounters with her parents and the jabs at her older sisters show how immature and juvenile  she really is, although that doesn’t justify courting little boys. Her co-star Copper Hoffman truly embodies an over confident young man on a quest to make it in the world, with his charming but determined personality and his overactive mind it’s hard to not admire his strive and creativity. 

Overall, the film is a pleasant watch that clearly isn’t meant to be taken too seriously but the theme of grown women dating minors does not rest well with me. The wardrobe, humor, and acting abilities are notable aspects that do a sufficient job at covering up the mess of a story line, resulting in a picture that earns a solid 6/10 from me.