MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 380 this week

The Wackness (2008)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  29 August 2008 (UK)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 25,006 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 146 critic

It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop. Set against this backdrop, a lonely teenager named Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment, while having a crush on his stepdaughter.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $7.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 32 titles
created 14 Jun 2011
 
a list of 22 titles
created 31 Aug 2011
 
a list of 23 titles
created 02 Oct 2011
 
a list of 24 titles
created 21 Apr 2012
 
a list of 23 titles
created 29 May 2012
 

Related Items

Search for "The Wackness" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Wackness (2008)

The Wackness (2008) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Wackness.
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

While his trailer trash parents teeter on the edge of divorce, Nick Twisp sets his sights on dream girl Sheeni Saunders, hoping that she'll be the one to take away his virginity.

Director: Miguel Arteta
Stars: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Ray Liotta
Adventureland (2009)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the summer of 1987, a college graduate takes a 'nowhere' job at his local amusement park, only to find it's the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.

Director: Greg Mottola
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane, a good girl who became quite hot over the summer, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revelers begins to drop quite mysteriously.

Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able
Love Bytes (2005)
Documentary | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

Filmmaker Jonathan Levine sets out on a cross country roadtrip to find love in several major cities with the help of the internet and an Audi A3.

Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Misha Calvert, Jonathan Levine, Alex McCord
Drama

Feature adaptation of the 2012 documentary about a junior high school class from New York City competing an a chess tournament.

Director: Jonathan Levine
Shards (2004)
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After his best friend overdoses on crystal meth, hip hop DJ Walter tries to kick the habit and leave his hometown behind...

Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Lamont Bentley, Chris Gardner, Nate Mooney
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Eleanor
...
...
Justin
...
...
...
Grandpa Shapiro
...
Grandma Shapiro
...
Bodyguard #1
...
Homeless Man
...
Kid in Bar
Edit

Storyline

Friendship, love, and coming of age in New York City, summer of 1994. Luke Shapiro has just graduated from high school, sells marijuana, and trades pot for therapy from a psychologist, Dr. Jeffrey Squires. Luke is attracted to a classmate, Stephanie, who's out of his league and Squires' step-daughter. By July, he's hanging out with Stephanie, taking her on his rounds selling pot out of an ice-cream pushcart. Then things take a turn. In the background, Squires and his wife as well as Luke's parents are having their troubles. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Summer 1994. The girls were fly. The music was dope. And Luke was just trying to deal. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive drug use, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

29 August 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bódulat  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£80,581 (UK) (29 August 2008)

Gross:

$2,077,046 (USA) (17 October 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The hat that Ben Kingsley wears was his own. He grabbed it when he set off to New York to film the movie, thinking it might be useful. See more »

Goofs

An establishing shot of a Long Island Railroad train shows a train with model M-7 cars. The M-7 railcar was not introduced into service until 2002. See more »

Quotes

Grandma Shapiro: Luke, have you had any more thoughts about what you're gonna be as far as a profession goes?
Mr. Shapiro: Mom, he's got time.
Grandma Shapiro: I'm just asking!
Luke Shapiro: Actually, I'm thinking about becoming a shrink.
Grandpa Shapiro: Psychology! It's not quite the shoe business, but it's a very interesting field.
Luke Shapiro: I figure I'm an expert because everyone around me is so fucking crazy, you know?
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the Sony Pictures Classics logo appears at the very beginning and at the very end of the film, the word "classics" is erased and replaced with a graffiti rendering of the same word. See more »

Connections

References Beverly Hills, 90210: U4EA (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Exit Lines
Written by Steven Bragg, Larry Crane, Patricia Rowland, Lindsey Thrasher
Performed by Vomit Launch
Courtesy of Jackpot! Recording Studio, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A dopey Jewish boy pseudo gangsta with a nerdy sweet smile
19 July 2008 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

The success of 'The Wackness' is fragile. If you can hear that phrase right--the wackness, the movie will probably work for you. That's enough: the wackness. It almost feels like writing about it will crush it. Things don't seem to fly at first. Here we are. Okay, there's this high-school graduate called Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck). He lives on the Upper East Side of NYC but his father's had an economic disaster and they're threatened with banishment to New Jersey. The older generation's approaching meltdown and the youngsters are about to move on.

Much about 'The Wackness' sounds routine. The coming-of-age story, the nerdy kid who wins over the cute girl, the constantly feuding parents, the offbeat shrink sessions, the nostalgia for a period recently gone. Why does it work? The simple answer: Josh Peck, who plays the young man, Luke Shapiro. Peck, who's tall and a bit chubby (he was a flat-out fat boy in Mean Creek and the TV kid comedy series "Drake & Josh"), wonderfully steers along on the edge between nerdy and cool and the result is irresistibly charming. However self-conscious Luke's lines may be at times, Peck's timing and delivery turn them into gold. Luke's relationship with the messed-up shrink Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsley), who trades him therapy for good bud, is endearing too, but Squires is close enough to being a real mess so it's not too cute.

It's the summer of 1994 in hiphop graffiti New York just at the moment when Mayor Giuliani came to wipe out "quality of life crimes" and drain the sleaze and the color out of Times Square. Probably the writer-director (Jonathan Levine) was this age then. Words like "dope" and "wack" and "yo" and "what up" fly through the air with abandon. The movie pushes the same slang words too hard, and mentions Giuliani more than it needs to. And what's with "mad"? Did they really say that? "You're mad out of my league." "I got mad love for you shorty. I want to listen to Boyz2men when I'm with you," says Luke to Stephanie (Olivia Thrilby). (They trade mix tapes.) It's a heat wave, so he says "It's mad hot." The dialog is mad free with "mad." Accurate or not, the New York-Nineties references are a bit more constant and self-conscious than they need to be.

At first some of the more prominently noticeable visual business also seems over-the-top: a teenager selling masses of weed out of a decrepit ice cream cart and trading it for therapy; the shrink's giant glass bong which he lights up in his office during a session.

But, whatever, as the blasé Stephanie would say. It still works, because the main characters are endearing and their dilemmas are true to life.

The thing is, Luke needs to get laid. Squires offers a hooker, not pills, for this issue. The doctor himself takes a kaleidoscope of antidepressants to cope with being a mess and having a sexy young wife (Famke Janssen) on the verge of leaving him. The solution of Luke's problem turns out to be convoluted because Stephanie, who accepts to hang out with him and then teaches him to make love, is Squires' own step-daughter. That's tricky for Squires. He has problems of his own. He has one big one: he's afraid life is passing him by. No obvious role model though a pal to Luke, he's such a mess he lusts after teenage girls himself, and smooches with Mary-Kate Olsen in a phone booth. This, by the way, was the day when drug dealers still used pagers and pay phones. And even if the Giuliani theme is pushed as are the "what up's," nonetheless Squires' dishevelment and Luke's selling drugs out of a cart are logical figments of the fading pre-Giuliani New York, and that fading sleaze is like the fading of Luke's virginity as his "nasty thoughts," which he says he enjoys, yield to real experiences of sex and to the pain of falling in love when it's not returned.

By now it may be redundant to say it, but Josh Peck makes Luke's mixture of vulnerability and bravado, very real. The plot turns out to be not so much clichéd as simple and true. When Luke's heart gets broken, it really hurts to watch it. Though the drug distributors Luke gets his marijuana from--and he sells many large bricks of it that summer in hopes of saving his parents' apartment--are conventionally high-powered guys with machine-guns and Jamaican accents, ninety percent of the time Levine keeps his story low-keyed and doesn't strain for effects. And he doesn't need those, because Josh Peck's and Ben Kingsley's line readings sing out enough to make any movie memorable.

As one blogger puts it, Luke's "kind of dopey pseudo-gangsta, but nerdishly sweet smile managed to convey both the character's pretense and genuine good nature." All the English Peck puts on his lines reflects his character's efforts to strike a pose, but the "nerdishly sweet smile" instantly undercuts the poses and makes them endearing. He's functional enough. Stephanie has taken some small interest in him, enough to want to hang out despite her having been "mad out of my league" in high school. And he must have got dealing dope down if he can make $26,000 in some heavy weeks of the summer. But he's in need of an attitude adjustment. This is how Stephanie puts it: "I see the dopeness; you only see the wackness." He's been faking it and now he needs to make it. He needs to love life. And suffer pain. And she gives him both opportunities. This is pretty well how the world is for a young dude. When it hurts to watch Luke suffer, it hurts in a good way.

P.s. Jane Adams is mad fly as Elanor, an ex-musician pothead. Her ingenious excuses for constantly scoring weed are as good as anything in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.


53 of 87 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Raise your hand if you couldn't make it through the whole movie mets811
101 Things I learned from The Wackness Lisafliny
would have been a good movie without josh peck elanabana
About Guiliani and New York City triviadude
Shower Sex Scene fishguts16182
Just because there was drugs and Hip-hop doesn't make this a good movie element_0f_s0n1c_def1ance
Discuss The Wackness (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?