The film eventually begins to work against itself and erodes the goodwill that it had earned.
| Original Score: 2/4
Given the film's early promise, it's unfortunate how it turns into a largely reductive Freudian character piece in which the main character has to come to terms with his old man.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Nothing spectacular, skip it.
| Original Score: 1/5
The sojourn into John Hughes territory distracts from the film's real story, which centers on a young alcoholic hurtling toward the abyss.
The writing is as subtle as a Slurpee -- even a spiked one.
| Original Score: 2.0/5
There's an element so relevant to the credibility of the story that the script avoids completely and it's shocking this fundamental defect isn't provoking more contempt.
| Original Score: C+
The fast-talking but increasingly insufferable Teller ... displays little ability to modulate his performance as the movie gradually turns darker and darker ...
| Original Score: 1.5/4
[VIDEO ESSAY] "The Spectacular Now" is the work of inexperienced screenwriters.
| Original Score: D+
The Spectacular Now does not come close to earning that certain kind of isolation that teenagers feel, certainly never coming close to equaling the year in Charlie's 'Wallflower' existence.
Director James Ponsoldt has adapted Tim Tharp's coming-of-age novel with heartfelt sincerity, but the movie lacks a cutting bite to push it past innocuous teenage drama to a truly deep portrait of adolescence.
| Original Score: 6.7/10
Director James Ponsoldt has a drinking problem. The problem is that he apparently can't stop making movies about drinking.
The key to The Spectacular Now's success is in its insight, empathy, and fantastic performances.
| Original Score: A-
Its straight-forward execution allows for lovely emotional complications.
Both actors have contrasting acting styles but still find common emotional footing.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
[Ponsoldt] enjoys playing with our expectations by following conventions, luring us into the sense that we know what's coming, and then swerving just a little off-road for a detour.
The film deals believably and honestly with teen anxieties about the future, while also exploring the familial impact of addiction.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
It aspires to be the 'Say Anything' for the latchkey generation, and for the most part, it achieves that lofty goal via smart, clever writing and a cast that doesn't miss a beat.
| Original Score: B+
While its deliberate rhythm may prove to be a harder sell among the teen crowd, it's a valuable and honest film that's worth the investment.
| Original Score: B
The film's utter believability on all fronts is its greatest asset.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
The Spectacular Now forgoes easy wistfulness in favor of untidy human emotion - as grounded in the compassionate and engaging turns by the film's leads.
| Original Score: 4/5