Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Wackness 

Wednesday, Jul 2 2008
The Wackness is a mix tape of clichés, with writer-director Jonathan Levine taking cuts from a dozen or more “life-affirming” coming-of-age melodramas and setting them to the backbeat of NYC ’94. The movie begins by ballyhooing its “edge”: The Sony Classics logo gets tagged over; teenage hip-hop head Luke (Josh Peck) is introduced stonewalling his psychiatrist, Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsley)—then, before the session wraps, the patient pays his shrink off in . . . kind bud! Ohhhhhhhh, schnaps (insert DJ scratching noise)—this ain’t ya parents’ Ordinary People, son! Dealer Luke’s first summer post–high school finds him socially stalled by weed paranoia, wondering if his lingering virginity will be permanent. As his old man is the most castrated patriarch since Jim Backus strapped on an apron, midlife satyr Doc S. becomes the substitute father figure, paraphrasing Harold and Maude platitudes about LIFE! in a wobbly accent. This, combined with notably fugly cinematography, should equate to so much Sundance offal, but Peck keeps the production shy of execrable. He’s real like nothing else here: a big, pear-shaped UES Jewish kid unsuccessfully masking his insecurities—he keeps his shirt on when swimming and screwing—with street posturing and headphone-clogged self-absorption. All the drug-slinging material’s counterfeit, but the script is refreshingly straight-faced in looking at the strange relationship between white boys and rap.
July 11-25, 2008

About The Author

Nick Pinkerton


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular