IF you have ever seen an adolescent coming-of-age movie (Porky's, Animal House, Risky Business and my favourite Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary ) you will know that the plots show little variation. Boys become men by guzzling beer and ogling girls. It took director Garry Marshall to put a different slant on it in The Flamingo Kid (Pearl, 12.55am). This, incredible as it seems, is a movie about teenagers which is often touching. One critic referred to it as ''an enjoyable lollipop''. The best thing about The Flamingo Kid, set in 1963, is that it does not contain a single bad performance. Bad performances are things upon which most films of this kind pride themselves. Matt Dillon, the broodiest of Hollywood brooders, is the low-born young man who is introduced to a more sophisticated way of life when he takes a summer job as a car park attendant at El Flamingo, a ritzy seaside club for affluent Long Islanders and their offspring. If this were any other film in the genre we know what would happen next. Dillon would meet teenage friends, tell stories about the opposite sex, lose his virginity on the beach. There would be a scene in which he gets caught with his pants down by the girl's angry father and has to escape by jumping through the window into in a rose bush. Cut to later the same evening, and a friend is picking the thorns out of his buttocks. But Marshall builds The Flamingo Kid on small moments, a wise decision because it gives the comedy empathy and intelligence. There is not a great deal of meat on the bare bones of the plot, but that doesn't matter, because The Flamingo Kid is less about what happens and more about to whom it happens. Dillon meets Phil Brody at El Flamingo. Brody is a wealthy car dealer and the club's champion gin player. Dillon falls in love with Brody's daughter and gets a promotion. He decides to follow in Brody's footsteps and become a car dealer, but his poor father, back at the family slum in Brooklyn, has dreams of seeing his son at college. SCREENWRITER Donald Westlake adapted the script for The Grifters (Pearl, 9.30pm) from a book by Jim Thompson, the modish tough-guy writer who has replaced Raymond Chandler as America's favourite, well, modish tough-guy writer. This film became an instant classic when it was released in 1990 and it is not altogether difficult to see why. Director Stephen Frears has spun a web suggestive of such classic as The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. The characters speak in a faintly disconcerting argot right out of the book, adding greater authenticity to what was already pleasingly authentic. The tale is spun of three con artists (''grifters'') forever on the lookout for an easy hustle. Lily (Anjelica Huston) is an ultra-experienced pro who specialises in altering the odds at race tracks; Roy (John Cusack) is small-time, hustling barflies with loaded dice; and Myra (Annette Bening) goes for the corporate action, a field she is easily able to ply with her siren's body and wardrobe of Chanel two-pieces. The climax, involving Lily and Roy, is swift, ugly and cathartic. BY far the best thing about Blake Edwards' Switch (World, 9.30pm) is Ellen Barkin. She waltzes through all the feeble comedy with the assurance of a shark in a tank of goldfish. Everyone around her, including director Edwards, is deflated by comparison. The plot is an inferior rip-off of Goodbye Charlie. It concerns a philandering male who is shot by a vindictive conquest and returns to Earth as a woman (Barkin). His/her mission is to prove to the Lord that someone on Earth loves him/her. If he/she can do so the Gates of Heaven will open. Switch is as weak as water. You could pass some of the time by looking out for a brief appearance by Jimmy Smits of L.A. Law fame. OR you could instead be amazed by Timothy Hutton's performance in the 1990 Italian-French production Torrents Of Spring (World, 1.00am), based on the story by Ivan Turgenev. Hutton plays a Russian who is engaged to a German but gets hot under the collar for Nastassja Kinski. Good costumes, good European scenery, little else.