There comes a time in every child's life when it becomes okay for him to swear in front of his parents, and vice versa. For Scott (Rory Culkin), this time comes when his parents' marriage unravels after his dad (Alec Baldwin) starts fucking Mrs. Bragg (Cynthia Nixon), the mother of the girl Scott's been in love with for years (Emma Roberts, the former Nancy Drew vamping Lolita-style). Lymelife is a coming-of-age story set on suburban Long Island in the non-specific past—the movie's press materials say 1979, but Scott's older brother (played by Culkin's real-life older brother Kieran) is shipping out to fight in the Falkland Islands conflict, which didn't take place until 1982, so who knows.
It's The Ice Storm with a little bit of American Beauty thrown in for good measure, and at times, it really does feel like a retread—but the darkly comic Lymelife has some good things going for it, particularly Jill Hennessy's role as Scott's beleaguered mother, and Kieran Culkin's avuncular performance, which refuses to hit any easy notes. In fact, there's so much to like that it's a shame Lymelife is sabotaged by clumsy editing, and an ending that hints at violence and feels completely bogus.