Christina Ricci, Marisa Coughlan, Samuel Ball, Dominique Swain, Brenda Blethyn
Directed by Adam Larson Broder, Tony Abrams
Carolyn McDuffy, the California cheerleader played deliciously by Christina Ricci, will do anything for her sorority, even mentor the mentally challenged wheelchair-bound Pumpkin Romanoff (Hank Harris) in a special shot-put competition. She doesn't expect to fall in love — she already has a jock boyfriend (Sam Ball) — but Pumpkin is so sweet and needy. Even his mom (Brenda Blethyn) is amazed at her son's vigor, until she finds Carolyn giving Pumpkin a workout in bed. Something disquieting and boldly funny could have come out of the screenplay by Adam Larson Broder, who co-directed Pumpkin with Tony R. Abrams (it's their debut). But after a lively start — the sorority sisters, shaken by the slightest imperfection in themselves, cannot cope with handicapped athletes — the film smooths its rough edges and reduces complex characters to sitcom stooges. Call it an opportunity missed.