Rocket Science - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rocket Science Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2011
I spent the vast majority of this movie trying to decide whether, or not, I liked it. The characters were definitely interesting, but overall I don't think that this film hit on the point that it was trying to make. Not a bad movie, just not that special.
Super Reviewer
September 9, 2011
A stutterer joins his high school debate team at the behest of a woman with whom he quickly falls in love.
Anna Kendrick, whose performance in Up in the Air showed her to be a strong if somewhat stilted actress, is nearly perfect as the debater/femme fatale in this quirky independent dramedy. And though Reece Daniel Thompson doesn't achieve a Colin Firth level of tortured stuttering, he is nonetheless compelling.
There are also some really funny and touching moments. I particularly laughed out loud at "There's now a cello in your house."
However, the narration is overbearing. There is a constant musical score dominated by quickly strummed guitar chords that make me think these were added because they're required in independent films, not because the score accentuated the storytelling. Finally, there were several moments of over-editing. Contrast Rocket Science with A King's Speech, in which the camera stayed fixed on the King as he tried to spit out his words; in Rocket Science there are needless cross cuts to reaction shots that show little reaction.
Overall, like many independent films, Rocket Science is one to watch for the performances and occasionally clever script, not for its direction.
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2008
I had high hopes for this one, (and even bought the damn thing before seeing it based on a good review. Grrr). Didn't do a lot for me at all. It was kind of dull and didn't find the main character particularly interesting. Disappointing.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2009
I am a total, total sucker for these types of movies. With that in mind, I suppose it is a bit biased to say that I loved absolutely everything about this movie. It is just perfect, the script, presentation, story, everything. I really like the fact that Hal is by no means the only messed up character. Everybody is broken. It is just that his 'problem' is so visible, sets him up as an outsider. I also love the ending, and lack there of. The film ends when Hal is ready to move on. It is his own choice and realization, not the result of a big win or intense compatition. Love the soundtrack, it fitted the tone nicely. The core of the film is not wholly original. There are some basic concepts every coming of age tale needs. But overall, it seemed really fresh, it has a unique perspective and is not afraid of being light and playful. I really have no complaints or degrations to give. All around, it is maybe not rocket science, but a sweet, charming, heatbreaking film from begining to end.
Super Reviewer
April 2, 2010
Ever get a film and wonder why you rented it. That fits this film 110 Minutes of wondering how did it get on my list. About a High School Student who falls in love with a Debate Queen, and he has a speech handicap, nothing in this film makes it funny or enjoyable, another 2 star rating
Super Reviewer
½ December 20, 2009
Slightly inspirational and sort of adorable, but too insubstantial and too self-aware to be more than a floaty little indie. I sort of like Anna Kendrick a lot though.
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2009
Rocket Science is a film that isn't too much of anything. It's funny, but not hilarious, it has emotion without being powerful. In many respects it is a very real film. Like many of it's type, it has those 'charming' little quirks, with extra dollops of weirdness. However, Rocket Science decides to stick to a world many can relate to. It has familiar and excellent dialogue, and situations that don't always pan out for the best. A lot to like, but little to love.
Super Reviewer
½ September 17, 2009
"Life is faster done than said."

Looking for answers to life's big questions, a stuttering boy joins his high school debate team.

With another entry in the "coming of age" category, I really was pleasantly surprised to find--if not an original--a deeply-felt, honest portrayal of the trials of adolescence. The strongest aspects were the performances from the entire cast with Anna Kendrick and Vincent Piazza being standouts. But this deeply personal film has many fine moments, both hysterically funny and painfully revealing. Because it refuses to be predictable--even in the final moments--I believe it will stand above other films of this genre. A well chosen score will keep it from becoming dated. It's never glib towards a range "bent" characters, and chooses to leave the smart remarks for the characters and not the film itself. Despite the subject of repressed anger and expressed rage, there's a sweetness that avoids the sentimental. Clearly Jeffery Blitz needed to tell this story. And I hope he has many more for us in the future.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2009
A long time ago, I remember myself recoiling at comments made about the script for The Usual Suspects. What made me flinch most of all were critics who made unfathomable -- for me, I admit up front -- comments about the "cleverness" of the script -- saying that the script was too clever for its own good. Well, I've harbored my, I believe, well-founded grievances against ill-informed comments like that ever since, and I actually took a blood-oath that if any movie ever came along that, for me personally, achieved cleverness to this abysmal degree, I'd lay the like pronouncement upon it. That moment, at long last, has arrived, and I tell you with utmost sincerity that the moment is not a gleefully happy one for me. At my advanced age, there are precious few moments left to indulge myself in watching movies. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. So while I still draw breath, I must force my self to type: This piece of tripe is way way way too clever for its own good. Thank goodness, I guess, that I've now lived long enough to fulfill my life's movie-script-despising-moment mission. But I digress. Wait, I do not digress . . . o-o-or duh-do I? Well-well-well-well muh-maybe . . . buh-buh-but maybe not?-?-? I have just summed up, for those of you still reading this, just how clever this script wants to be, especially in terms of its humanitarian effort to portray disability in a fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh-funny light. The word "academic" comes to mind. It's as if this were a writing exercise that Iowa writer workshop profs set in order to torment incoming Iowa writer workshop newbies -- you know, to separate the, uh, well the wheat from the chaff. No offense to Iowa farmers. The saddest part of all is, of course, that the IWW profs must have liked what the newbies churned out -- no offense to Iowa dairy farmers. Friends, please don't waste your precious time on earth by watching this extremely artificial intellectual exercise in script crafting. It's so un-this-world clever it's come around the real-world curve and ended up in extremely-annoying-stupid-ville.
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2008
quirky to be sure, but true to its own voice throughout, from the odd music to the eccentric peripheral charactors.

I was entertained, and loved some of the narrative; a highlight was when Kendrick explains to the older brother that "his" seat on the bus is not his, since it is public transportation, but everyone's; and then goes on to argue further that since public transportation is provided by tax dollars, that the seat is more hers, since her family pays more taxes. Beautiful!

There are enough other over the top elements that get in the way of this coming of age tale, but at its core, this is a good film. The Klepto brother is just a bit too odd, though he has his redeeming lines; and the same can be said for the Asian boy whose father has a brief fling with the hero's mother - interesting, but just a bit too far out there - ditto the friend who lives across the street from Kendrick (who is totally believable and amazing in this role), although I found his parents and their musical interplay to strengthen their relationship an interesting piece.

The film takes a very odd premiss and goes to where you don't expect it - the usual Hollywood happy ending doesn't happen here; what does is something deeper and far more meaningful (as indicated by the telling last act with the all too absent father).
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2007
The plot was surprisingly surprising.. Well-acted, good soundtrack, very real. I have a feeling this film will haunt me for a long time for better or worse.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2008
It was good...funny...a bit slow at times. Still enjoyable though.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2008
Teenage angst compounded with a stutter afflicts our quirky protagonist. Not very funny or poignant and not a patch on the similar 'Rushmore'.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Rocket Science" starts at the New Jersey State High School Debating Championship where Ben Wekselbaum(Nicholas D'Agosto) and Ginny Ryerson(Anna Kendrick) are debating on behalf of Plainsboro High School. Partially through a well thought out argument in favor of farm subsidies, Ben freezes and the team finishes in second place. Ginny is heartbroken at the loss. At the same moment, 46 miles across the state of New Jersey, Hal Hafner(Reece Daniel Thompson) has a much better reason to be upset when his father(Denis O'Hare) leaves home. Some months later, Ginny recruits Hal to the debating team despite his serious stutter because she can see promise in him. This is true because Hal always has the answers in class but can never articulate them in time.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Rocket Science" has two things going for it right off the bat. It starts fantastically and the soundtrack is superbly cool. And the rest of the movie sustains that momentum to be one of the better coming of age movies I have seen recently. In this case, it is a charming and offbeat tale of a teenager finding his voice. I know Hal may seem to be an extreme example but his is an age where many are prone to awkwardness and have trouble communicating to each other. And problems at home can only make this worse.[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2008
[size=2]*has absolutely nothing to say but is hoping the nothingness receives spontaneous growths of somethingness at some point*[/size]
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2012
Rocket Science is a quirky gem packed with brilliant indie charm carried along by a great narrative and an amazing soundtrack. Rocket Science follows the story of a timid high school boy with a speech impediment who decides to join his high school debate team to chase love. First of all anyone who doesn't like Indie films (specifically quirky romantic indie films) may not like the movie due to the pacing, storyline etc but it was perfect for me. When I saw this film I only expected a good performance from Anna Kendrick and that's it but after watching it I was speechless with my mouth wide. It really left me speechless because it ends on such a great note leaving the viewer with an amazing message and moral. The acting was brilliant from Reece Daniel Thompson doing a great speech impediment and he played his role very well and was thoroughly believable. Anna Kendrick was amazing but often her character can be hard to keep up with. And like films including Drive, the soundtrack is EXCELLENT and one of the best parts as all the songs fit the right tone bang on. Sometimes we hear a Narrator monologuing and his dialogue was so good as he WAS the true voice of Hal. The characters are brilliant and you get more than mere high school stereotypes and instead you get a main character some could relate to and empathise with while being highly engrossing at the same time. And side characters who never really felt unnecessary. Maybe this is because it is loosely based on the director of the film's childhood (Jeffrey Blitz). Like previously mentioned the ending is fantastic and like endings reminiscent of The Mist, it will not be for everyone and at first most will feel robbed but once you truly understand the deeper meaning and what has truly happened; you appreciate it and can't believe it's excellence. This does have that kind of cliched quirky indie formula but it feels original, always heartfelt and natural. I hate to wrap it up so soon because I don't know if I have done it enough justice but overall Rocket Science is an amazing, relatable, touching, moving and breathtaking indie romantic coming of age story that comes full circle with an amazing lesson at the end that will definitely leave you speechless.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2013
I had written a review for this a few weeks ago, but it magically disappeared so unfortunately I can't write as much as I'd like because I don't remember all the specifics about the movie. Regardless, Rocket Science is a wonderful little indie coming-of-age movie with a lot of heart and some very funny moments. It's about a high school student named Hal Hefner (Reece Thompson) who has a stuttering problem and is eager to overcome it. After falling for one of the strongest speakers on his school's debate team (played by Anna Kendrick), Hal does the most logical thing a headstrong teenage boy can do and joins the debate team to be with her. Reece Thompson is great in the lead role and he makes Hal a very sympathetic and endlessly relatable character. He has one spectacular scene in the middle-ish of the movie in which Hal lets out all of his pent-up frustrations by smashing the windows of a certain character's house in a creative way. He delivers all of his best lines in a fantastic deadpan way, and his character is pretty much the only normal one in the movie. Not to say that's a bad thing at all, it's just that every other character is eccentric or strange in some way, including a mother and father who argue by playing Violent Femmes songs on cellos. Speaking of Violent Femmes, their music makes up almost all of the soundtrack, and the soundtrack genuinely rocks. It acts as the perfect backdrop to a few select scenes and makes them that much better. Rocket Science does fall prey to a couple of coming-of-age and indie movie cliches, but for the most part it's a very unique and likable comedy that is well worth seeing.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2008
A winning, somewhat quirky, yet relatively lucid portrait of teenage expression and insecurity.
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2007
Nice I guess.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2007
Independent garbage that ticks all the following boxes: repressed loner as lead, quirky (unfunny) humour, someone playing an accordian in the background all the way through, quirky (unfunny) narration, a gay best friend (how old is that now?) and a cameo by the immensely punchable Jonah Hill. To make matters worse, it's trying very hard to be a Wes Anderson movie. Irredeemable.
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