The Wackness (2008)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  1 August 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 26,494 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 147 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.



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bódulat  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$138,401 (USA) (4 July 2008)


$2,077,046 (USA) (17 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Curlz, the font used on Stephanie's yearbook page, was not released until 1995. See more »


Luke Shapiro: In June I graduate. And then I go to my safety school. And then I get a little older. And then I die.
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 »


References Three's Company (1977) See more »


Can I Kick It?
Written by Lou Reed
Performed by A Tribe Called Quest
Courtesy of Jive Records
Contains a sample of "Walk on the Wild Side"
Performed by Lou Reed
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
By arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Sample of "Spinning Wheel"
Performed by Lonnie Smith
Courtesy of Blue Note Records
Under license from EMI Film and Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Far from wackness.
3 August 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

From Luke's opening monologue set to the strains of old school hip-hop through to a beautifully crafted story that is both poignant and funny and Ben Kingsley's wonderful turn as psychiatrist Dr. Squires this film is a winner. Set in New York in 1994 the story follows Luke Shapiro as he graduates school and becomes a dope dealer full time. It's a coming of age drama of sorts but equally as he is struggling to come to terms with embarking on life after school, parents, peer pressure and girls his psychiatrist Dr. Squires, who he deals to in exchange for counselling, is also coming to terms with growing old, a failing marriage and drug dependency. The two form an unlikely bond, Luke is in love with Dr. Squires step daughter and Dr .Squires wants to recapture his lost youth which opens the way for some charming and damn funny moments. Kingsley plays the good doctor like a cross between 'The Big Lebowski's' the dude and a drug addled Terry Nutkins, it's a great role and another that shows just how versatile he is as an actor. Luke is played by local boy Josh Peck and as well as being a perfect foil for Kingsley he is also great in his own right, very reminiscent of the lead from Thumbsucker all floppy haired and wide eyed. The music mostly nineties hip-hop, like A Tribe Called Quest and Notorious B.i.g to name but a few is balanced with classic rock as the two now friends swap mix tapes. Well paced and effortless in its execution this should be as big as say 'Juno' but due to its content and drug references it probably won't be, but don't let that put you off seeing this great little film.

42 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Raise your hand if you couldn't make it through the whole movie mets811
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Just because there was drugs and Hip-hop doesn't make this a good movie element_0f_s0n1c_def1ance
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