The Wackness

4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
With its graffiti-sprayed credits, circa 1994 hip hop on the soundtrack and drug-dealing protagonist, this rites-of-passage affair comes on like a whole barrel of fun. Odd really, when its subject matter is adolescent anxiety, middle-aged depression and unsettling questions of self-worth, shot in a very murky colour palette.

Its Day-Glo marketing campaign notwithstanding, writer-director Jonathan Levine’s debut is at heart an introspective character study, as Upper East Side teenager Josh Peck, a geeky wannabe merely tolerated by his  cool former classmates because he sold them dope, spends the summer between high school and college wondering whether he’ll ever find acceptance. Since he also supplies weed to frazzled shrink Ben Kingsley (above), a listening ear is part of the exchange, and the good doc’s disintegrating marriage has him searching for renewed youth; an unlikely friendship takes shape – complicated by Peck’s  crush on the latter’s daughter (Olivia Thirlby).

In time-capsule dialogue she berates her suitor as a glass-half-empty kind of guy – ‘I look at the dopeness, you look at the wackness’ – thus signposting the revivifying influence of then-breaking hip hop culture on white youth. Whether this line of inquiry squares coherently with the film’s sedulous pacing and studiedly washed-out visuals is questionable, as if it’s playing hang-loose and uptight simultaneously. Still, Kingsley’s shamelessly zingy performance adds welcome pep, and a delicate, achingly sincere summertime idyll on Fire Island offers notice of Levine’s evident promise, when he’s not leaning too hard on pixie-chick clichés and being down with the kids.



Release details

Release date:
Friday August 29 2008
99 mins

Cast and crew

Jonathan Levine
Jonathan Levine
Ben Kingsley
Famke Janssen
Josh Peck
Olivia Thirlby
Mary-Kate Olsen
Jane Adams
Method Man
Aaron Yoo
Talia Balsam
David Wohl
Bob Dishy
Joanna Merlin
Shannon Briggs
Roy Milton Davis
Alexander Flores

Users say (8)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
2 people listening

Watched this film as a "mystery movie". I enjoyed it immensly. Just to sit back and have a film gently permeate my senses was a pleasant change to the sledgehammer handling of most films. It was funny and the emotional interplay was absorbing.

Anyone who has enjoyed a toke will absolutely love this film. The music is fantastic, the acting is brilliant (particularly Ben Kingsley who is magnificent and touching). My favourite film this year without a doubt.

Anyone who has enjoyed a toke will absolutely love this film. The music is fantastic, the acting is brilliant (particularly Ben Kingsley who is magnificent and touching). My favourite film this year without a doubt.

there is a very big statement in this poorly structured,artificially acted and pretentiously written movie and that is every one living on upper east side needs rehabilitation for drug abuse and this includes the psychiatrists as well ,who is played here in his worst role to date by the man who once won an oscar , the rest of the people Sell drugs in ice lolly carts ,have unsafe sex with hundreds of people according to their own confession and will be definitely hiv+, now if this is not a really pleasant movie about the present day new yorkers then who could blame anyone for watching on the town again , at least it is happy in it's useless frivolity where this is suffocating in it's own misery with every dysfunctional stereotype in western culture on horizon and they are so happy being doped too, the director and every other person needs to be put on a cannabis free diet and atmosphere for rehabilitation as cannabis is said to induce serious chronic neuro-psychiatric sequelea and this movie is the direct result of years of drug abuse , a serious mental health offence both artistically and aesthetically to the mind and senses , the use of 4 letter words was actually becoming as it i tried to keep my senses awake or let's say AWAKEFULNESS .