The Wackness

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Year: 2008

Writer & Director: Jonathan Levine

Budget: 20 million (estimated)

Gross: $742 785 (as of july 20th 2008)

The Wackness: the year is 1994 and our hero, luke shapiro, has just graduated from high school.  he isn't one of the cool kids (he might be the most popular of the unpopular kids or the least popular of the popular ones), but they all know him because he is their pot dealer.  he also deals to this psychiatrist who happens to be the step dad of this chick he has a huge crush on... 

this is a summer coming of age story and i have to admit i am a total sucker for coming of age movies.  however, that can also work against it in that i expect to like it which means i can be easily disappointed (kind of like with another genre that does end up disappointing me more often then not: 'bank heist' films).  when it comes to The Wackness however, i was not disappointed at all.  i really enjoyed this film...

you might be thinking, why 1994?  sure it gives the film a nice soundtrack with the likes of de la soul, tribe called quest and the then new biggie smalls.  and it allows for characters to talk abotu Beverly Hills 90210 and carry beepers.  however, i think the reason levine chose it was for the transition that was taking place in new york city at the time.

this was the first year of giuliani's reign and the beginning of the crack down on the 'bad and dirty' new york, the homeless problem and the now famous broken window theory of policing. all this plays a central role in the film as the characters relate to each other.  it is even referenced quite a bit directly in the dialogue.

with all that as the backdrop, the film is actually a coming of age story for two characters:  the young shapiro and the old phsychiatrist dr, squires, played by the great ben kingsley.  they become good friends and their relationship is really the centerpiece of the film.

to go a little corny film critic blurp on you: the film is funny and touching and it will make you laugh and cry.  although it takes place over the course of two months back in the summer of 1994 in new york city, anyone who has ever been young, confused and in love will be able to relate to at least parts of it.  those older and confused will be able to relate as well.