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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review

    It’s 1994 in New York City and things are simpler. Connection comes in the form of a pager. The Notorious B.I.G. is pioneering hip-hop. Reebok pumps are awesome. Marijuana goes by the names “”northern lights,”” “”bubble gum”” and “”purple haze.””

    In this regressed time sits Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck), a recent high school graduate and aimless protagonist – who thereby takes aim at everything. The story is nothing new: a young man seeks to become a mature man. It’s too bad Jonathan Levine, who wrote and directed “”The Wackness,”” didn’t utilize anything else to give life to a time-tested coming-of-age story. No innovative narrative. No new camera tricks. Just a kid who deals pot trying to come to terms with who he is and his philosophy on life.

    But there is something that overcomes the expected: Sir Ben Kingsley. He appears in “”The Wackness”” as Dr. Jeffery Squires, a fractured psychiatrist with a penchant for pot. Longing for his younger years, Squires relives his youth through Shapiro, as the two snort coke, chase the ladies and act as surrogate fathers to each other. To complicate things, Squires’ stepdaughter Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby) is thrown in the mix, creating an interesting triangle.

    Hearts are broken. A friendship is formed. Life lessons are learned.

    – Matthew Fitzgerald Kielty

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