Rocket Science - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rocket Science Reviews

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May 2, 2017
the soundtrack would get 3 stars by itself.
½ February 25, 2017
Well made but ridiculously unbelievable.
February 18, 2017
Pretty Boring with touch of gloom....I am not a big fan of debate teams and thought it would be good cuz I love Anna Kendrick....but this is not her best work..
½ October 25, 2016
This movie went nowhere and the stuttering kid was annoying.
½ August 20, 2016
undebatably a real sleeper-goes nowhere and is uninspiring.totally unarousing.
May 12, 2016
horrible no point in watching didn't even laugh I had to skip through sometimes it was very irritating
April 13, 2016
Snicker and snarf worthy with a backdrop of policy debate
March 31, 2016
Though Rocket Science offers a rewarding denouement, it isn't enough to save the rest of this plodding, dull, depressing mess, leaving viewers with a rather lifeless underdog story that also shows clear proof that director Jeffrey Blitz doesn't know how to make his quirky characters resonate.
March 17, 2016
Anna Kendrick does not have a big enough part. She is dressed in clothes that are too big. Too many odd characters.
March 10, 2016
Another coming-of-age, life-taking-off story.
Interesting- in kinda awkward way... & sorta annoying at the same time, to be honest.
½ February 13, 2016
Terrible movie. You keep watching expecting it to get better, but it just gets worse.
December 29, 2015
Deep heavy sigh. I hate movies that don't know how to end. It was slow, but had some interesting turns, but then just up and ended. Bah.
October 16, 2015
If you're going to make a cheesy movie, give it a resolution.
½ May 28, 2015
This is on the low side of 3 1/2 stars. Ultimately, for a lot of movies, it's difficult to articulate what makes them outstanding or lacking; a lot of my favorite movies just have a certain quality to them that makes them so perfect for me, and movies I don't connect to as much aren't particularly bad, just somehow lacking an essential quality that would make me extremely invested. That's how I felt for most of the running time of Rocket Science, a movie that had a lot of elements I liked without being standout.

Maybe it's partly that I've seen so many indie movies that something like this seems trite instead of genuine, even if it is genuine. There were a lot of trademark indie coming of age movie signs in this movie, whether it's quirky offbeat characters (like the weird friend, Heston) or the take-charge girl the main character is crushing on, or the idea of singing at the climax to overcome stuttering. None of these are inherently offensive or overdone (the last one isn't something I've specifically seen in movies before), but there's something about them that can be a little grating and cutesy. I also spotted some Wes Anderson influence, maybe some of the comic timing or the loud score.

Luckily, the movie has a lot going for it. The cast is pretty great, with Anna Kendrick as a precocious debater who was pretty damn unlikable while still having a certain appeal you could see on Hal's face. That said, by far the standout is Reece Thompson. For the first half of the movie, he kind of seemed like the typical shy white kid who stars in every indie movie, but by the end he'd really grown on me, and I was surprisingly invested in his story.

Overall, I think it was the ending that won me over. I started liking the story more once Hal teamed up with Ben (Nicholas D'Agosto, radiating warmth, friendliness, and wisdom), a dynamic that worked really well, but I was kind of wary of a cheesy ending with Hal singing his whole monologue to overcome the stutter. It turned out to work pretty well because of Thompson's great delivery and generally shitty singing; you looked so vulnerable, and at a certain point it's hard to get too bitter about indie tropes when the actors carry it so genuinely. Better, though, Hal and Ben got kicked out of the competition. When that first happened, it seemed very abrupt and unsatisfying, but as it set in, I grew to really appreciate that they didn't go the obvious route; they didn't have the singing thing actually work, and they didn't have Hal get together with Ginny at the end. I really liked how their story ended, with Hal giving Ginny the finger, one recurring element I was surprised to always find funny. (That said, Ginny was a surprisingly evil character once she dropped out of his school and was revealed to be manipulating him. I would've liked a little more nuance, especially because her last statement that it was hard for her to betray Hal was kind of bullshit.)

There was one scene in particular that made the whole last act work for me, though. It's when Hal enters the pizza shop and orders a pizza, stuttering quite a bit but eventually triumphantly getting the word 'pizza' out. That whole scene is funny and touching, and it just pushed the movie over into solid 'I like this' territory.

Like I said at the start of this review, it's hard to classify what works and doesn't in a movie like this. Ultimately, people react differently to different things. So I'm not sure what it was about this movie specifically, but I wasn't enormously invested in Hal's relationship with Ginny, and I wasn't enormously invested in the ongoing desire to debate successfully, even though I did like his character and actor. But those pizza scenes worked on me in a way I didn't anticipate until that last one happened. I'm not sure what it is about that specific subplot that hit me, but it did, and it made a big difference.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
A drama movie in the same genre as Napoleon Dynamite , have much the same feeling almost i thought atleast. Story is about Hal Hafner , a teenager with heavy stutter problem joining the school debate team much for a girl's sake. Its hardly not any comedy in this one but a well scripted with slow tempo flick.
½ December 4, 2014
Rocket Science est un film qui manque furieusement de rythme et qui souffre d'un immense trou noir au bout de la première heure avant de finir en beauté avec le retour de Nicholas d'Agosto. Hormis ce défaut, Rocket Science est surtout un film qui traite de manière humaine de quelque chose qu'il semble bien connaître (le bégaiement et la difficulté de le surmonter) à travers un sujet un peu moins connu du grand public (les clubs de débat dans les facultés américaines) et qui réussit avec brio grâce à un scénario habile et des acteurs parfaits. Si Reece Thompson tient le film sur ses épaules, Anna Kendrick et Margo Martindale sont parfaites dans des rôles secondaires, tandis que Vincent Piazza et Aaron Yoo parviennent à exister malgré un faible temps d'écran. Même si le tout semble parfois un peu trop décalé pour être vraiment réaliste, Rocket Science se trouve être touchant, drôle et particulièrement marquant.
August 20, 2014
A sweet and lovable offbeat comedy
August 17, 2014
(First and only viewing - In my early twenties)
½ August 4, 2014
Quietly brilliant. I loved it.
July 4, 2014
One of the most bizarrely - frustrating - entertaining - torturous and eventful film experiences i've had - watching and receiving - in my life.
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