Rocket Science flies beyond the standard teen preoccupations, moving into territory that combines humor and eccentricity with fragile hope and ambition, making for a film that embraces every awkward angle of adolescence.
Rocket Science is not a revelation on the lines of Thompson's Spellbound, one of the great convergences of luck and the ability to make the most of it. But it does suggest that Blitz and Thompson have futures worth investing in.
All of the acting is first-rate, but Thompson is fantastic. He makes Hal both sympathetic and hilarious, never giving in to self-pity but, in a refreshing take, not above the occasional scream (or cheer).
Rocket Science has the makings of either a tragedy or a crowd-pleasing underdog story, but writer-director Jeffrey Blitz instead takes the movie on a different, and ultimately more rewarding, direction.
Blitz's one-man revenge of the nerds continues with this narrative-feature debut, a smartypants comedy about a kid with a lot going on inside and a sadly undependable mouthpiece with which to let it out.
Blitz gets too much mileage out of a pair of kooky (or kookily) Korean neighbors, but even that's mitigated by his unapologetic affection for the movie's cast of misfits, all of whom are somehow beautiful in their irredeemable f---ed-upness.
The problem with Rocket Science is that the character at the center of the drama isn't very energetic or, truth be told, interesting. This makes it difficult at times to remain engaged in the unfolding tale.