Bouncing off New York‘s 4.17 Vulture item about lowered expectations for the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival screenings of The Wackness (“Why Reviews for The Wackness Might Be Mad Wack, Yo”), here’s a re-post of my reaction to Jonathan Levine‘s film, which I tapped out at the end of Sundance ’08:
“I’m not saying that this well-made under-30 relationship film is dimissable, but it just doesn’t have that schwing. At best it’s an in-and-outer — mostly out. Set in ’94, The Wackness is an urban buddy saga (older therapist, teenaged pot dealer) with a funereal visual palette (i.e., covered in dark gray-green murk) and a vaguely off-putting, constantly medicating male lead (Josh Peck) with a haircut that I came to really and truly hate by the 30-minute mark.
I may as well as admit that I see Peck as another big galumph — a galumph with greasy black hair and an affected Dr. Dre speaking style, which is how a lot of hip urban kids who grew up in the ’90s tend to sound. I took an instant dislike to Peck during my endurance time with The Wackness last January. Street homie dawg…yo!
“The only unmitigated plus about this film is Ben Kingsley‘s nicely skewed performance as the pot-smoking therapist. But, as I wrote during Sundance, ‘when you add in Peck’s weirdnesses and all those cigarettes and doobies that everyone keeps sucking into their lungs and before you know it you’re thinking about hitting a health club just to flush the experience out of your system.'”