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The Wackness

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: R — for pervasive drug use, language and some sexuality
  • Director: Jonathan Levine   Cast: Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby, Mary-Kate Olsen
  • Running Time: 95 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review

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Genre

Comedy, Drama

Producer

Keith Calder

Distributor

Sony Pictures Classics

Release Date

Jul 3, 2008

Release Notes

Limited

Official Website

Review

In The Wackness, Josh Peck, of Nickelodeon’s excruciating (for non-tweens) sitcom Drake & Josh, plays a recent high-school grad who wheels around an ice-cream cart selling pot, some of it to his long-haired stoner psychiatrist (Sir Ben Kingsley), while lusting after the doctor’s willowy stepdaughter (Olivia Thirlby). The writer and director, Jonathan Levine, labors to establish the period (it’s 1994), which means a lot of white kids talking like rappers and ominous signs (for drug dealers) of a Giuliani crackdown on New York crime. The movie feels autobiographical—emotionally authentic (with a fair amount of bitterness toward women) and somewhat unshaped. The Giuliani stuff doesn’t come to anything, and Peck needs to learn that even dazed-and-confused teens don’t let their mouths hang slackly open all the time. The fun is watching Thirlby—second banana in Juno—do a tantalizing sex-bomb number, and Kingsley get to flout his knighthood by sticking his tongue down the throat of Mary-Kate Olsen.

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