Writer/Dir: Jonathan Levine (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Cast: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Olivia Thirlby, Famke Jamssen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Method Man, Jane Adams
Seen: July 11, 2008 at the Varsity
Reason to see: The trailer was what got my interest and I'm the right 'vintage' for this period. If you do choose to watch the trailer, make know that after the halfway point it gets to big spoiler territory.
The Wackness, set in 1994 our not too distant past in the time of mixed tapes, pagers and 90210. This is where we meet Luke Shapiro, a drug dealer and a loner in New York City. When you add those two things together I found that it ends up with what should be a not overly likable or accessible character, however Josh Peck delivers wuch a fantastic and understated performance which makes Luke feel very real to us. The film does have some very sweet and emotional moments, as well some brutal truths which one would expect from a coming of age film. The cast is the strong point of the film, it is always a joy to see Ben Kingsley and I think he did a great job here, as did Olivia Thirlby as Stephanie she was perfect for the time period. Jane Adams gives a stand out performances as an eccentric customer and I also enjoyed Mary-Kate Olsen free spirited granola kid. This cast of characters weave in and out of Luke's life one summer and all of this to a kickin' soundtrack featuring A Tribe Called Quest, Notorious B.I.G and R. Kelly.
Although there were many interesting and a few great unconventional relationships I was put off by some of the gender terms and male focused viewpoint. Why is this you ask? Because it was completely believable and it came from characters that I had come to liked. Overall I have to say that I wished I liked the film more and I'm sure it will find it's audience out there, I just really wish that included me.
Shannon's Overall View:
I wanted to love it
I'd likely watch it again
I'd recommend if you like coming of age films, especially that focus on guys and/or for the 90's nostalgia factor
15 minutes of preshow including 10 commercial and 4 previews: Gonzo, Baghead, Brideshead Revisited and The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Return to Film Reviews
© Shannon Ridler, 2008