Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It Was a Very Wack Year

While Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) consults his psychiatrist (Ben Kingley), his psychiatrist consults his drug dealer.

The Wackness

Written and directed by Jonathan Levine

95 minutes

Even the great Ben Kingsley cannot make Dr. Jeffrey Squires, his bonghead, immature psychiatrist character in The Wackness, believable. Fortunately, Josh Peck, playing his patient/dope dealer/partner in crime, the 18-year-old Shapiro (as he’s generally called), does not have this problem. (It’s not Kingley’s fault; the deck is stacked.) Shapiro is a good-looking, resourceful, hip (he’s down with Biggie), nice guy, yet, mysteriously, he has no friends and is a virgin; he’s also burdened with bickering, ineffectual parents. With the sort-of help of the crazy Squires, who has plenty of issues himself, and the doctor’s knowing, pretty stepdaughter (Olivia Thirlby), Shapiro begins to shift the balance in his life, so that the dopeness overtakes the wackness. This is true of the movie as well, especially if you’re young enough to feel nostalgic for 1994. —MLM