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June 16, 2008

The Wackness is Wack

Wacknessposterfinal_2 Who and what in Hollywood has sapped me of my desire to go out and see movies? Can it be that decade-plus of ass-widening, cornea-burning hour upon hour of movie-going obligations? As a reporter, I was a prisoner of the medium. The days when I could RSVP to a screening and then walk out without being spotted are sadly gone. I felt jaded. I didn't miss Sundance. I didn't regret Cannes. Now having been way, way out of the loop for the better part of a year, I have begun to venture back into the darkened theater. Can I re-find the joy? Can the thrill be re-ignited? Not yet. "Sex and the City": Unh-unh. "Zohan": Unh-unh. "Indiana Jones": Nnnnope. Not that the trailers haven't been enticing. Like an old boyfriend, Hollywood tries to seduce by reminding you of all the feelings it made you feel so intensely, once upon a time. Then when you venture back, it smacks you with all the reminders of why you left in the first place. But then I went to see 'The Wackness' last week. Far from perfect. A weird performance from Ben Kingsley, as a Brooklyn shrink with a midlife crisis. But there was a completely credible Josh Peck - of kid tv's 'Drake and Josh' - stumbling his way to adulthood, falling in love, and in lust, and selling pot to make ends meet in the hot, sticky New York City summer. It felt like someone with a heart and a pulse made this film. Like it was made by someone who felt this stuff deeply. So who is Jonathan Levine, the writer-director? He appears to be a post-pubescent young talent as yet unlearned in the deadening ways of Hollywood. And he swears in the notes handed out at the screening that he never dealt in pot. ("I swear!") He swears? Wait till he swears on his children. Then you'll know he's lying.  Movie opens July 3, from Sony Pictures Classics.


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