Jonathan Levine's quirky, bittersweet coming-of-age comedy follows the last summer before college in the life of Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck). His family lives under the constant threat of eviction, his parents fight relentlessly, and he's stuck in a scorching Manhattan with few friends, depressed and lonely. He spends his days selling marijuana to stoners in Central Park and crushing on the hottest girl in school, Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby). But he finds his closest friendship and most reliable relationship by trading weed for therapy with Stephanie's stepfather, Dr. Squires (Sir Ben Kingsley), a man with issues of his own. Levine's mid-'90s memory play is one of the first films to truly treat the period with a loving sense of nostalgia. Reminiscing about a New York City slowly adjusting to the Giuliani way of life and a pop culture that finds white boys embracing hip-hop music and culture, Levine creates a new kind of tale about teenage identity and angst, one viewed through the prism of a post-turn-of-the-Millennium and post-9/11 world. The Wackness exposes a teenage lifestyle that is messy and complicated but still filled with wonderment, romance, and new understandings of the world and one's place in it. The director's stylistic flourishes combined with playful but complex performances by Kingsley, up-and-comers Peck (Nickelodeon's Drake and Josh) and Thirlby (Juno), Method Man, and Famke Janssen help the audience learn exactly what the difference is between the wackness and the dopeness!
About the Director(s)Collapse
Jonathan Levine (b. New York City) has been making films since he was 12. Following his graduation from Brown University's Art/Semiotics program, he worked in New York as personal assistant to writer/director Paul Schrader. In 2002, Jonathan moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute Conservatory. Jonathan's thesis film, Shards, screened at film festivals around the world and won the best short award at the American Black Film Festival. AFI also awarded Jonathan its prestigious Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award. Jonathan's first feature, the slasher film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006.