The Spectacular Now Reviews
When you read what the film is about, you expect something different. For example, the synopsis for the movie led me to believe that Sutter (Teller) had a drinking problem. While that was accurate, I kept waiting for it to lead to some sort of rift in the relationship with Aimee (Woodley). While it did partially lead to the film's emotional climax, it felt more like it had to do with Sutter as a person, than as an alcoholic. Maybe it's just me, but I think the fact that the teenage protagonist is an alcoholic should've been a bigger plot point.
There were also some plot points that didn't quite make sense to me. Aimee and Sutter were allowed to spend a crazy amount of time in her room together, which didn't seem realistic. Even if Aimee's mother wasn't attentive, at some point you'd assume she'd question the boy in her daughter's room. I also didn't see the point in Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character. She added nothing to the story but a way for Sutter to get around his mother preventing him from seeing his father. It's a shame, because Winstead is very good.
I'm done harping on what didn't work. This is a very good movie. As noted, the chemistry is what sets it apart from other coming-of-age films. They also avoided a lot of the cliché stuff in similar films, which was appreciated. Kyle Chandler is also fantastic as Sutter's father, bringing his inane charm to the role, while still being the right amount of dislikable. Overall, it was a strong film that helped show the world just how good Woodley and Teller are. [*** 1/2]
Woodley gives it a good go, Teller, too, more-or-less, a Romanesque visage with hints of Elvis. But this film seems to lack for a script in many places. It's like the aforementioned director said, "Here's the scene now ad-lib it. Action!" And a whiskey flask as a prom favor (gift)? Weird, even if the Lead seems to be heading toward early alcoholism. (Probably this came from the book from which the film was adapted.) Good to see J. J. Leigh and that she's still working, speaking of Heckerling ("Fast Times").
Not sure how this is getting firm tomatoes. It's not good in any respectable respect - except that the good girl, sorta, seems to get the Lead guy, tho' in today's cliched film trendy way, you're left guessing. | - Norm de Guerre