|Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: July 3, 2008||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
If you have ever experienced the crushing effect of young love, you owe it to yourself to check out this gem of a dark comedy.
Not everything in The Wackness works and there are times when the divergent serious/comedic tones clash instead of complementing each other. However, in spite of its flaws, the production gets us to care about the characters and their situations.
Both darkly funny and life-affirming, in an offbeat and offhanded way.
What saves this movie, which won this year's audience award at Sundance, from being boring are performances by two actors who see a chance to go over the top and aren't worried about the fall on the other side.
Nostalgic for those bad old days, The Wackness was shot at a time when it actually looked like "America's Mayor" was going to be in a position to perform a similar cleanup on the entire country. That, of course, turned out to be a pipe dream.
A smart comedy that serves as both bittersweet coming-of-age tale and '90s nostalgia piece, The Wackness has the feel of authenticity about it, even if some of its details (the ice cream cart, and the therapist's bong, for two) seem a bit much.
The most adventuresome element in The Wackness isn't its pop-culture skin but the unlikely friendship of Luke and Squires...As buddies, they're a kick. But you wish they had a kickier picture to support them.
The story's not really about youthful indiscretions. It's more a tale of a young man struggling toward maturity, even as an older man struggles to abandon it. With that story, and that offbeat friendship at its center, The Wackness will likely strike plenty of chords with plenty of audiences.
The dopest thing about The Wackness is Thirlby, who, after supporting turns in "Juno" and "Snow Angels," is quickly becoming reason enough to see any film she's in.
The Wackness is one of those Sundance coming-of-age films, with all that implies: a surfeit of forced edginess, kooky characters, cynicism-coated sentimentality and self-absorbed angst.
A deeply personal coming-of-age story steeped in heady nostalgia and all the creative myopia that too often comes with it.
Disappointingly, the movie runs along the track of many earlier coming-of-age dramas, with appointed station stops at Cynicism, Puppy Love, Puppy Sex, Puppy Heartbreak, and Greater Wisdom.
An almost-there comedy with diverting compensations.
The Wackness may not have much that's new to say about being 17--it's a fairly standard coming-of-age drama with a couple of noteworthy performances--but it's a definitive compendium of trivia about 1994 (by Levine's lights, the best year ever).
The movie he (Josh Peck) is in, The Wackness, written and directed by Jonathan Levine, makes a good-faith effort to steer clear of such clichés, and succeeds and fails in roughly equal measure.
All the drug-slinging material's counterfeit, but the script is refreshingly straight-faced in looking at the strange relationship between white boys and rap.
An unlikely buddy comedy that comes to life whenever Kingsley appears - he doesn't so much steal the show as roll it into a fat blunt and smoke it.
A crowd-pleasing portrait of boys-who-will-be-men-who-will-be-boys.
Kingsley is amusing to watch, however, even though he overdoses on strangeness. He's like a superannuated hippie crossed with the swami he just played in "The Love Guru."
When it's good, it's good, and when it fails, it's still clear what Levine was trying to do.
Self-indulgent and needlessly complicated for what it ultimately delivers.
Emulating its hero's recklessly independent spirit, The Wackness aspires to be something more than your average psychiatrist-bashing, dysfunctional-parents coming-of-age dramedy à la "Running With Scissors." It snows us with more visual flash than it knows what to do with.
The Wackness' main draw is Kingsley's giddily over-the-top performance as a pothead, and the film delights in showing Gandhi sparking a huge bong or making out with Mary-Kate Olsen in a phone booth.
The movie feels autobiographical--emotionally authentic (with a fair amount of bitterness toward women) and somewhat unshaped.
Occasionally stumbles into charm but more often is just wayward and hazy. It makes you hungry for a real movie from writer-director Jonathan Levine.
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