At the start of the year I lamented the fact that I wouldn't be able to watch some of the best films of the year more than once due to the nature of having to watch every single other film. So far the only ones to make the twice watched grade are No Country For Old Men, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Dark Knight and Wall-E. But strangely enough I can now add The Wackness to this prestigious list. Why? Not because it deserves to be there, its an okay movie, but because I saw it while working at Glastonbury and didn't review it at the time. Not wanting to let down my devoted readers I sat through it again. Because I love you. And you feel it (and because my boss needed it print checking and I got paid).
1994, New York City. Luke (Josh Peck) is mad depressed yo. A teenage drug dealer, with no friends, useless parents and a chronic inability to get laid, for real. When he meets Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsley) a legitimate drug dealer (read pyschiatrist) his life starts to become alive a'ight. The two soon become homies as Luke falls for Squires step daughter. Word.
The truth that the only reason teenagers are so fucked up is that its the first time in your life that you question what the fuck life is about, is well played in this film. And so is the truth that if you never stop questioning what the fuck its all about you'll remain fucked up. Here is the strength of the awfully titled The Wackness. Two boys (of vastly different ages) confused by everything. As Luke, Peck conveys just the right amount of New Yawk swagger with the right level of insecurity. Sir Ben proves his versatility once again as the psyche in need of some psyche, a skipped pill away from a complete breakdown. When the two are together the film really works.
Seperated, Luke becomes whiny and obsessive, and Dr Squires the same. And as a film about a specific place and time it doesn't really hit home. The soundtack may be spot on and the references to Mayor Guiliani might have had more of a ring to it had he not faded from the media eye, but the fact is the film doesn't have enough to say. As for the already dated language so expertly ripped apart by me in the second paragraph, well, thats just dope. Or whack. I can never remember which is which.