Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan, Sam Ball

Non-Cast Credits

Adam Larson Broder, Tony R. Abrams, Francis Ford Coppola, Linda Reisman, Willi Baer, Karen Barber, Christina Ricci, Andrea Sperling, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Adam Larson Broder, Tim Suhrstedt, Sloane Klevin, Richard Halsey


After a perfect summer, Carolyn McDuffy (Christina Ricci) returns to Southern California Stat University for her senior year. Determined to make this the year their arch rivals, the Tri-Omegas, are unseated as Sorority of the Year, Carolyn's sorority develops a well-ordered plan. It includes pleasing the Greek council by wooing some "quality" minority rushes and picking a "killer" charity�the young male team of the "Challenged Games." Enter Pumpkin (Hank Harris), the wheelchair-bound discus thrower assigned to Carolyn for training. Far from the comfortable stucco walls of Pasadena, Carolyn is mad queasy by this brush with imperfection at first, but as she looks into Pumpkin's doelike eyes she is confused by her feelings for him.

Wickedly satirical and oozing taboo subject matter, Pumpkin pushes the comedic boundaries with its clever brand of humor. Directors Tony Abrams and Adam Larson Broder have given this terrific cast a full pallet of clich�s and stereotypes to choose from, and they do so with reckless abandon. Ricci is definitely leading the charge with her totally perfect, pert-little princess portrayal of Carolyn, who lives in a world where ugliness can be fixed with money or makeup. There is a warped fairy tale metaphor at work in Pumpkin but, as with all fairy tales, there lurks a potent message. It is about accepting people for what they really are and discovering that not all forms of disability are visible. In this tale, it just may be the Pumpkin that becomes the Prince Charming.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.