Don't read this review. Go see The Wackness instead. Then, read this review. Post your own review in the comments section. If you read this first, I'll warn you...many spoiler alerts follow.
It's 1994, New York City. Pot dealer and self-designated loser Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) has just graduated from high school. It's a hot, sticky summer. He's going to college in the fall. He wants to remedy his virginity situation. He loves music. His parents constantly fight. He barters pot for therapy with psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Squires (Ben Kingsley) while nursing his crush on Squire's step-daughter, Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby). Peck and Kingsley shine! Not sure who is better but they're an awesome duo.
Dr. Squires, in the midst of a failing relationship and a mid-life crisis advises Luke creatively. Through their friendship, both men grow and learn about themselves and life. I love the two worlds, so open to one another. Real struggles, real feeling.
New York City is its own character in the Wackness. You explore the city alongside the hurting characters. You sense the humid heat, take in the acrid scents, enjoy the sights as you stroll through the park with Luke on his pot deliveries. The movie is a sensory masterpiece. It opens with the lush soft focus of dusk on a clear, sunny day; melancholic and so beautiful, you don't want the sun to take siesta. The softness contrasts against the vivid colors. These, in turn, highlight the innovative shots, angles and special effects. This is the type of movie that inspires me to make a film.
Musically, the film delivers just as it does visually. Hip-hop and beat-thumping tunes accompany the film. You float along with the sound waves of the dope soundtrack.
These talented actors bring the feelings to life. See it. Feel it. Be prepared for it. Don't miss the experience. Loss of innocence and heartbreak never felt so good.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Run time: 100 minutes