Cheryl Hines

'Poole' script has no splash

Mark Pellington, the talented director and son of Baltimore Colts linebacker Bill Pellington, once said that if he ever did a film that was "a Baltimore movie" like Barry Levinson's autobiographical films or John Waters' funky slices of Charm City life, it would have to be about preppies misbehaving in the suburbs. (He grew up in Timonium and attended St. Paul's School.) Pellington has made what he says is a personal suburban movie, Henry Poole Is Here, in which the title character returns to the street on which he lived as a boy. But that street is in La Mirada, Calif., and the movie seems personal in the wrong way.

In 2004, Pellington's wife died suddenly of a ruptured...