Pumpkin is the story of Carolyn McDuffy, a sorority girl who has fallen ...
Pumpkin is the story of Carolyn McDuffy, a sorority girl who has fallen in love with an unlikely candidate: a mentally challenged teenager named Pumpkin Romanoff. To improve their public image, Carolyn’s sorority, the Alpha Omega Pi’s are coaching a team of handicapped children for an upcoming Special Olympics. Their rivals, the Tri Omegas are also participating in the yearly event, and the Alpha Omega Pi’s are determined to defeat them after an embarrassing defeat the prior year. Carolyn is assigned to mentor Pumpkin, a wheelchair bound lad with a heart of gold. Though he rarely speaks, Ricci’s character slowly develops an emotional bond with the boy, that goes beyond mere sports training. As the blonde bombshell begins spending an inordinate amount of time with her student, jock boyfriend Kent Woodlands becomes increasingly suspicious, and finally realizes that she has in fact fallen for a ‘retard.’ Furious, he begins a fearsome campaign to end their relationship. As word spreads to the Alpha Omega Pi’s she is dishonorably sacked from the sorority. Carolyn’s love of Pumpkin soon develops a physical element also, as mother Judy Romanoff (Brenda Blethyn) stumbles upon the two making love. Mom is livid and labels his mentor-turned-lover a pedophile wench, sparking an expulsion from her snooty private university and the staunch criticism of Carolyn’s own mother, Chippy (Lisa Banes). Following her expulsion Carolyn enrolls in a smaller, less prestigious university. Soon afterward some strings are pulled however, and she is readmitted to her former school, reunited with Kent, and reaccepted by the Alpha Omega Pi’s. Kent vows that he will find Pumpkin another love, but pairs him with an overweight, unattractive girl named Cici Pinkus instead, infuriating Carolyn and initiating their second breakup. Despite criticism from her mother, former boyfriend, sorority sisters, and society at large McDuffy rekindles her relationship with Pumpkin, accompanying him to an Alpha Omega Pi dance. Kent also makes an appearance and, with a seemingly unfair advantage, begins to pummel his rival. What ensues is an unexpected outcome mixed with both tragedy, glory, and ultimately romance. Though Pumpkin initially received poor reviews, it has since developed a cult following. Many critics have also changed their opinion of the flick; Stylus writer Jeff Weiss would later deem the picture, “one of the most underrated films of the decade” in 2006, four years after its debut. Rating: Rated R for explicit language and a scene of sexuality.