Newest Reviews
You Don't Nomi
Man from the Alamo, The
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
  Wackness, The My Summer Of Love
Year: 2008
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Josh Peck, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary-Kate Olsen, Jane Adams, Method Man, Aaron Yoo, Talia Balsam, David Wohl, Bob Dishy, Joanna Merlin
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is June 1994 and Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) is contemplating his graduation from high school and the summer which lies ahead before he heads off to college. He sees a psychiatrist, Dr Squires (Ben Kingsley), who offers advice and a shoulder to lean on in return for Shapiro's supply of cannabis, for that is how the boy makes his money, pushing around an ice cream cart filled with the stuff and selling to his customers, with the police never suspecting. But the months ahead may be lonely ones, as everyone he knows is heading off on vacation - well, nearly everyone.

Director Jonathan Levine followed up his combination of indie movie and slasher All the Boys Love Mandy Lane with this, which was far more indie and nothing to do with running away from homicidal maniacs at all. It came across as a far more personal project having been set at a time when he would have been about the same age as the teenage protagonist, although how much the fiction echoed his experiences was a moot point, as the Squires character was far more a construct of this style of movie than someone you could wholly believe in as a living, breathing human being, unlike Shapiro.

Fortunately for Levine, the actor playing the doctor was Kingsley, who over the years appeared to gravitate often towards the more idiosyncratic end of the thespian spectrum, his choices being more evidence of someone who enjoyed working rather than someone who was especially picky about how those choices would reflect his more serious ambitions. And that's what is so enjoyable and easy to appreciate about him, that he could show up in a low budget fantasy movie just as easily as a work with more critical weight, so here he must have thought he was combining the two in this British-American co-production which he put on an accent and a long, grey wig for.

Not to mention a bunch of quirks that earned him an unfair Razzie nomination, as he was one of the best reasons to watch this, a film that built a modest cult of those who acknowledged that this was yet another coming of age tale but liked what Levine and his team did with it regardless. Peck and Kingsley made for a very amusing double act, all the more so for being so unlikely as Shapiro finds the only friend he really has during that summer is his psychiatrist. There is someone else in his life, however, and that is Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby) who is Squires' stepdaughter from his loveless marriage to Famke Janssen, playing the wife, a thankless role.

Shapiro is suffering what nobody around him seems to be, which is a strong dose of taking life very seriously. Under that stoner's exterior beats the heart of a deeply troubled man, yearning for acceptance as he grows to adulthood but failing to find it - and yet, there's a chance with Stephanie when she gives him her phone number, she having been left behind for the season by her friends as well. Normally she would be out of his league, but he manages to convince himself he has a chance with her, leading to a by turns charming and embarrassing sequence where they head off to her parent's beach house for a liaison that goes as badly, though ironically as well, as he could have hoped. With every character medicating themselves either legally or illegally as if to stave off some awful truth about life that Shapiro eventually comes to terms with, The Wackness was a hazy, dying to be trendy but actually quite nerdy take on familiar themes, its sympathies its strengths. Music by David Torn, with a bunch of rap on the soundtrack too.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1848 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith


Last Updated: