Candy Jar is a sweet coming of age movie that explores the lives of two teenagers who live different lives but share common goals - getting in to the college of their dreams. Each one has spent most of their life and all of their high school career working toward this one goal, under the loving and helpful care of their guidance counselor, played by Helen Hunt.
The story starts with Lona and Bennett at odds with one another as they each seek to be president of the debate team which, strangely at a seemingly elite academic school, consists of just the two of them. They are forced to become co-presidents and find ways to work together. Throughout the movie they find they have more in common than they thought, and we see some growth and change in each character.
Perhaps my favorite part of the story was the element of competition between the main character's mothers. Uzo Aduba (you might know her as "crazy eyes" from Orange is the New Black) shows off her acting chops as Bennett's accomplished senator mother, while Christina Hendricks (from Mad Men) is Lona's more free-wheeling spirited mother. I found these two characters more interesting and compelling than the main two.
There's a lesson in this movie, but it's obvious from the start. The story takes a turn that gave them an opportunity to dig deeper and examine more closely the emotions of adolescence, but the movie chooses to stay on the surface instead. Like the title Candy Jar implies, there's a lot of sweet here to entice you, but little substance to keep you entertained. There are better movies out there!