The Wackness Movie Review

It’s Giuliani’s New York. Peep shows are being cleaned out of Times Square; boom boxes and graffiti have become public enemies.  In the span of this one summer between his parents’ apartment and his college dorm room he will experience a myriad of life’s firsts.

Luke does his part to keep New York City the way many non-New Yorkers envision it. He plays a soundtrack of early 90’s rap on his walk-man as he sells drugs to Manhattanites. Luke trades drugs and candid conversation with his Therapist, Dr. Squires played by Ben Kingsley.

The relationship between Luke and Dr. Squires takes on new meaning as the doctor gives Luke frank advice about living in the moment and enjoying his youth through sex and drug use. His advice comes back to bite him though when Luke begins a relationship with his stepdaughter, Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby). We watch Luke grow and learn the lessons we all had to learn the hard way. I felt a connection with the main character as he described his place in the striated society of an American High School’s population.


Director and writer, Jonathan Levine, does an excellent job getting his audience involved with his characters. Each one was developed with enough texture to make us care about the events in their lives. The addition of some offbeat talent (cameos by Method Man and an Olsen twin) made for a unique cast that did a great job with their acting duties. The general feel of the city and the time period came through to the audience on an appropriate level. This type of movie has the potential to become a kitschy rendition of what it is trying to portray.  Much of the credit for this accurate rendition must be given to the music. I enjoyed the soundtrack immensely and it brought me back to my days listening to A Tribe Called Quest and Notorious B.I.G. The music really set the tone for the entire movie.


If you are a 30 to 35-year-old man who grew up in America, you will have an immediate attachment to many of the themes in this movie. I’m sure you will root for Luke in his final throws of adolescence. While he’s no Holden Caulfield, Luke does a good job as an anti-hero that we can relate to.

Best line (that is not representative of the rest of the dialog): “I got mad love for you, Shorty. That’s on the real. I like… I wanna like listen to Boys II Men when I’m with you.” – Luke Shapiro

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