Why would Rob Reiner make a movie about the ups and downs of romance between two 1950s-era eighth-graders?
“I literally flipped over it. It describes what it actually feels like to experience falling in love,” he said during a phone interview, describing the book “Flipped” by Wendelin Van Draanen on which the film of the same name, which opens Friday, is based.
Reiner first heard the story a few years ago, when his son, then 11, brought the book home and they read it together.
“He told me, ‘Dad, you have to make this movie,’” says Reiner, even though the sweet, Michigan-set tale is far from Hollywood product.
“It’s hard to get these kinds of pictures made,” says Reiner, who called in favors from old friends in the industry to help finance the modest-budget film starring Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe.
A movie “about human beings on Earth,” Reiner says “Flipped” follows themes of other romantic comedies (including “When Harry Met Sally”) he has directed, with “girls dragging boys through things — the way it is in real life. Girls have got a much better emotional purchase on things.”
Although he prefers directing, Reiner does enjoy acting, and says he takes roles “whenever they call me.”
The 63-year-old showbiz veteran — who played Michael (“Meathead”) on “All in the Family” and guest starred on a 1971 “Partridge Family” episode playing a biker named Snake — laughs because, for some youngsters, he’s only known for an appearance on “Hannah Montana.”
The longtime Southern California resident, also known for his political activism, has just one lament: “I’m so upset with my Dodgers.”
IF YOU GO
Starring Madeline Carroll, Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards, Callan McAuliffe
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman
Running time 1 hour 30 minutes