FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2018 --Immediately, I can tell you that Polly Draper's second attempt to direct a narrative feature has absolutely nothing to do with Stella getting her groove back of any of that. The title character, in fact, is an old dog. The film revolves around a dying old dogs last days on earth.


The pooches family, headed by Draper's character Sally, is throwing a doggie party before Stella gets euthanized. Coming home from college is her oldest son Jack (Nat Wolff), joining his younger brother Oliver (real life brother Alex Wolff) in this morbidly festive send-off for the family pooch. On the outskirts of the family, but living with Mom Sally is her balding beau Ron (Nick Sandow) who gets no respect from Oliver even though he owns a successful chicken restaurant.

The party is merely the backdrop, the actual story is about Oliver's new girlfriend Violet (Pauline Singer) and her previous involvement with Jack, which Oliver knew nothing about. All he knows is Jack had a girl and she never called him back. It is quite an innocent situation complicated by Violet and Jack not admitting that they knew each other romantically and not just in passing.


Making the situation more complicated are two socialite girls - Caitlin (Julia Machio) and Cassandra (Julia Abueva) who detest Violet and really dislike Jack and Oliver, because they come from the wrong side of the tracks. They provide moderate chuckles as each girl play the others sycophant.


The story isn't bad and the acting is slightly better than what you'd expect from a low-budget film such as it is. It is the second time the Wolff brothers and their mother have worked together, the first was in mom's first film "The Naked Brothers Band" (2005). Nat has shown reasonable growth, having appeared recently in "The Fault of Our Stars" and "Paper Towns".


casting is adequate with each actor seemingly flowing well with the other. The story could have shown more daring by Draper, there seemed to be too much of an effort to keep it rated "PG"


"Stella's Last Weekend" is a competent film with decent acting and the obvious comfort of a family working together. It could use a little more juice to bring it into a coming of age-like film; but nevertheless passes.   -- GRADE C --   GEOFF BURTON