“The Curse of the Unkissable Kid”
A Love Story
Mark Marchillo’s short film opens as we meet Josh (William Leon), a middle school student who is hiding on top of a toilet in one of the bathrooms on the last day of school before the summer break. We soon see why. School bully Ryker (Joseph Haag) comes into the boys’ bathroom and slams open all the stall doors looking for Josh. Ryker is unsuccessful because Josh was actually hiding in the girls’ bathroom. Josh escapes for the moment, but as he is quietly sneaking back to class, Ryker sees him, tackles him to the ground, and proceeds to bully him.
The next scene is in the school office, where the two boys are being disciplined by a somewhat bored principal (Drew Droege), tired of dealing with Ryker’s bullying and Josh’s inability to fight back (which he describes as negative energy). The principal is more interested in getting the “end of the school year paperwork” done than dealing with the situation. Besides he has not yet done the crossword puzzle in the morning paper.
The nest time that we see Josh, he is meeting up with Caitlyn (Liv Southard) and Clark (Christopher Bone) at the town fair. Caitlyn is Josh’s one friend who looks after him, doing things like running interference at the principal’s office. Clark is described by Caitlyn as someone she met at day camp who is rich. Ryker has also come to the fair and when he sees Josh, he immediately chases after him. To escape, Josh hides in an enclosed tent. where a gypsy (Lee Meriwether) tells him that she can solve all his problems and she sells him a magical potion to do just that. Outside the tent, Josh drinks some of it before reading the fine print on the bottle. The print states that he will disappear in 24 hours unless he experiences the kiss of a “true love” before then.
Immediately Josh goes to Caitlyn for help, but the magic isn’t there and they are interrupted by her mom. Then Josh runs around town trying to get kissed. He gets really desperate as parts of his body begin to fade. Caitlyn comes to his aid and sets up a kissing booth. With no takers, Caitlyn agrees to kiss him but it still doesn’t break the spell. Then Clark comes up and gives Josh an extended kiss and it works and soon Clark (whose real name is Harry) and Josh are a couple. Josh has discovered who he really is.
“The Curse of the Unkissable Kid” is unusual in that it is so very different from a typical family comedy film about pre-adolescent kids dealing with bullying and coming of age. Until recently, American films avoided anything involving sexual tendencies that are not between a boy and a girl. The point of the short film is that it is okay for boys to express their true feelings and inclinations even when they are different from most of their peers