Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley
Luke: I was THIS close to respecting you…
Squires: Big mistake, Luke.
A recent high school graduate spends his summer selling pot, worrying about his family getting evicted from their apartment, and trying to win the heart of his troubled therapist’s step-daughter.
This is a mostly forgettable movie, even though it was pleasant enough while I was viewing it. I wish they had added more interesting touches, like the scene after Luke and Stephanie’s first real date. Luke is happy about sharing their first kiss and as he goes dancing down the sidewalk, the squares light up under his feet as he lands on them. It seemed oddly out of place in a movie that goes more for realism most of the time, but it was a nice moment. If only more of those steps outside of reality had been included, the movie would have been a much more memorable experience.
The best thing about the movie is probably the friendship between Luke and his therapist, Dr. Squires, played by Ben Kingsley. Dr. Squires doesn’t charge Luke money for his therapy sessions. Instead, Luke pays with marijuana. Dime bags only get him about 10 minutes, but larger amounts can get a full hour. A drug habit is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Dr. Squires’ problems go.
Their performances are both good, Olivia Thirlby, as Stephanie, is adequate, but Famke Janssen, as Dr. Squires’ wife, is really underused and one-note throughout. The same thing could be said about Luke’s parents. They have a little bit more development, but mostly they’re there to yell at each other and be worried about the apartment.
The story isn’t overly compelling, but it’s mostly just a relationship movie, and those main two are fairly interesting. I thought the conclusion of the Luke/Stephanie one was more interesting than the Luke/Dr. Squires one. The latter one gets a bit too over-dramatic.
It’s a good looking, well-filmed movie, that seems like it wants to break out of its own sense of reality, but never fully can, which I think keeps it from reaching its full potential. And if you’re wondering where the title comes from, it’s a reference to a line delivered by Stephanie when she tells Luke he focuses on the negative too much. She says she focuses on the “dopeness” (positive stuff) while he only focuses on the “wackness”. I’d say the dopeness and wackness are about even in this film.
10 – 2 for playing things too conservative stylistically – 1 for an overly dramatic moment near the end that seemed poorly written – .9 for some of the characters being too thin = 6.1