A Parent Trap

Take pity on poor Sebastian (Adrian Grenier). As your typical teenager in a small town in upstate New York, circa 1983, he's already got enough problems: His divorced parents have both remarried, his sister is leaving for college, and life seems meaningless. To top it all off, his stepfather, Hank (Clark Gregg), has announced that he wants a sex-change operation and hopes that the family unit can continue in a similar fashion. (While he wants to be a woman, he's still primarily sexually attracted to women; he is the legendary lesbian trapped in a man's body.) Hey, it's The Adventures of Sebastian Cole. Not surprisingly Hank's hopes are dashed. Mom (Margaret Colin) leaves him, and their daughter (Marni Lustig) stomps out in a rage. But after an unhappy sojourn in England with his mother, Sebastian returns to the United States and moves back in with Henrietta, his former stepdad Hank. This debut feature from young writer-director Tod Williams is a relatively engaging rehash of standard troubled youth material. The one new element is the transsexual dad story, which feels tangential, maybe irrelevant, to Sebastian's real problems, as though it has mistakenly wandered in from another movie. As a result the film's tone vacillates between serious sensitivity and absurd comedy. It doesn't help that actor Gregg makes such a masculine-looking Henrietta.


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