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More Dopeness than Wackness
on 4 May 2009
If you have 'mad love' for 1994, then this is the perfect film for you! Otherwise you may find the sheer 1994ishness a tad distracting (the mid-nineties is applied with a trowel), but this is still a great film if you allow yourself to see through that.
Luke (Josh Peck) has just finished high school, and is spending his last summer before uni dealing drugs in New York City. One of his main clients is messed-up psychiatrist Dr Squires (Sir Ben Kingsley), and the film follows Josh and Squires' friendship across the summer, with Josh falling for Squires' hip stepdaughter, Stephanie, whilst Squires and his wife grow further apart. Josh is fed-up with being a loner, and with his life in general, and Squires just wishes he had his youth back, becoming dependent upon a huge range of drugs and being generally more childish than Josh. Both of them learn a little something from each other.
Okay, so far so Hollywood, and maybe that's why The Wackness was unfairly overlooked in the cinemas. There's so much more to this than the old cross-generational life lessons story though. It's an incredibly touching movie, and there are some good laughs to be had as well. The acting is good all round, though Sir Ben does coast a little in this not-too-demanding role. The soundtrack is a particular highlight, taking in a great selection of mid-90s hip-hop sounds, and for anyone who's always wanted to see Ben Kingsley make out with Mary-Kate Olsen (and frankly, who hasn't?), now's your chance.
A superb movie to put on for those long summer evenings, even if 1994 was nothing particularly special for you!