The Wackness
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It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop and wafting with the sweet aroma of marijuana--but change is in the air. The newly-inaugurated mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is beginning to implement his anti-fun initiatives against "crimes" like noisy portable radios, graffiti and public drunkenness. Set against this backdrop, Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before college selling dope throughout New York City, trading it with his shrink for therapy, while crushing on his step-daughter.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Kingsley's shamelessly zingy performance adds welcome pep, and a delicate, achingly sincere summertime idyll on Fire Island offers notice of Levine's evident promise."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"On the downside: There is a wackness to The Wackness, a saggy psychic undertow that drags down its lighter and smarter aspects."
‑ Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
"An exercise in style and wit, two commodities that never go out of fashion."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"With a game cast and cool songs from the era... heartfelt moments battling clumsy ones, The Wackness isn't quite dope but, like a good mixtape it is full of highlights."
‑ Craig Phillips, GreenCine
"If nothing else, it's probably worth seeing for the kissing scene between Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen."
‑ David Stratton, The Australian
"That first sight of Ben Kingsley sucking down a bowl will burn into your memory. You may be watching The Wackness but it's hard to forget that this is Gandhi putting Bic to bong in Jonathan Levine's silly, sappy and sympathetic coming-of-age memoir."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"The Wackness, for all its eccentricities and emotional pain, is really a sweet little film."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Josh Peck and Ben Kingsley make for an oddly engaging couple in Jonathan Levine's audacious comedy about sex, drugs, and unexpected friendships."
‑ David N. Butterworth,
"Dumb title? Certainly. Perfectly proportioned? Nope. True-to-life? Certainly not. An enjoyably quirky indie comedy? You bet."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"It's an old theme. Levine tackles it with gusto and verve, and if ultimately he overdoes it with a hi-end quirky style, I think there's enough authenticity here to see the film through."
‑ Jason Di Rosso, MovieTime, ABC Radio National
"The Wackness marks a step up in ambition, but it is also self-indulgent and needlessly complicated for what it ultimately delivers: a somber John Hughes picture scored to A Tribe Called Quest and Mary J. Blige."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"The characters are sympathetically drawn and the modest wisdom rings true."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"It's an utterly routine picture, but its low-key mood and acting disarm"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Parallel yet intertwined older and younger generations, and a real girl, set this above the usual young dudes genre, changing from comic to romantic to poignant and back."
‑ Nora Lee Mandel,
"This is a gently humorous and beautifully moving film."
‑ Annette Basile, FILMINK (Australia)
More reviews for The Wackness on Rotten Tomatoes

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