In THIRTEEN, Nikki Reed, who co-wrote the screenplay, portrayed a bad girl who tempts her
high school chum into a life of sex and drugs. In MINI'S FIRST TIME, Reed plays the title character,
an amoral teenager who measures her life via a series of "firsts." Mini is a sister under the skin to
Deedee Pruitt, the character played by Christina Ricci in THE OPPOSITE OF SEX, as well as
Ellen Page's Hayley in HARD CANDY, although she lacks the intellect of both of those characters.
Written and directed by Nick Guthe, MINI'S FIRST TIME traces the titular heroine's turbulent
relationship with her overbearing actress mother Diane (Carrie-Anne Moss). Diane is the kind of
parent who has trained her daughter to make her cocktails for breakfast and whose idea of a
complement is mention that a skirt makes her daughter's legs look fat. She is also promiscuous
espite -- or perhaps because of -- being married to Martin (Alec Baldwin), a successful if
As part of her "firsts," Mini finds employment at an escort service. One of her first clients is
a businessman, who naturally turns out to be her stepfather. She insists on lights out and even uses
his tie to blindfold him in an attempt to keep him from learning her identity. The audience is led
to believe that the pretense worked -- until Martin chases after Mini because she left her keys
behind. (What a Freudian slip!) Once the realize what has happened, they give in to lust and
begin an illicit affair that eventually leads to a plot to drive Diane to question her sanity. Mini steals
drugs from the school and slips them to her mother each morning in the cocktails she makes. The
teenager then manipulates events to make her mother think she is going crazy, from cancelling
appointments with her masseur (Rick Fox in an embarrassing cameo) to hiring someone to make
a crank phone call. Eventually something unplanned occurs that brings a suspicious detective (Luke
Wilson seemingly channeling Peter Falk as Columbo) into Mini's orbit.
It's easy to get caught up in the film while watching it, but when it's over and one thinks about
what occured, it becomes clear that MINI'S FIRST TIME contains numerous flaws. The actors
are all committed to their roles which helps. Reed has grown as a performer since THIRTEEN,
although there are still some scenes in which she is out of her league as a thespian. Baldwin does
a creditable job as the somewhat dopey stepfather who sacrifices everything for his affection for
Mini. Jeff Goldblum delivers a patented oleaginous turn as a rich neighbor. Moss, however,
walks off with top acting honors as the tightly-wound mother.
While Mini has some of the characteristics of Ricci's teen temptress Deedee, and some
of the conniving wit of Page's Hayley, she remains a secondary figure in the pantheon of
teen femme fatales. Like its heroine, the film MINI'S FIRST TIME resembles one of those
special cocktails the title character brews for her mom: it goes down smoothly at the time, but
it packs a lousy aftertaste.
Rating: C +
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, language, drug use
and a scene of violence.
Running time: 91 mins.
|Mini's First Time
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.