Rocket Science Reviews
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.
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.
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).
[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]