Josh Peck gives a great break-trough performance in The Wackness.
It’s the summer of 1994 in New York City and it’s also the golden age of Hip Hop. Luke Shapiro, Peck, is a pot dealer who has just graduated. He’s still a virgin and his family is in a bit of a money crisis. He goes to see a shrink named Dr. Squires, Ben Kingsley, he trades Luke sessions for pot. Dr. Squires has a step daughter named Stephanie, Olivia Thirlby (Juno), who Luke happens to be smitten by. Luke spends his summer selling dope and just chillin. He starts to get more friendly with Stephanie and they start up a little bit of a romance. Dr. Squires and Luke have an unspoken bond they share with one another. They go doctor and patient to being best friends. Dr. Squires has problems of his own with his wife and step-daughter. But this story is really more Luke’s than his. Luke goes on to learn about love, drugs, music, and relationships in this truly moving and usually funny movie. Luke learns a lot from many different people, not just Stephanie and Doc Squires, but also from others played by Famke Janssen, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Method Man.
The performances in this movie are spot on. Ben Kingsley is hilarious as Dr. Squires and also gives him a heart that he does show in certain points in the movie. Josh Peck should be recognized for his performance in some way. He gives probably the best break-through performance of the year. He gives a lot of depth to his character and I look forward to seeing him in future movies. And Olivia Thirlby really shows she has the acting chops here. I liked her in Juno and here she shows she has more range than people have given her credit for. Also there are some good cameo performances from Mary-Kate Olsen, who plays a fun loving hippie, and Method Man, who plays a Jamaican drug dealer, which is where Luke gets his stash from.
Overall The Wackness is funny, heartfelt movie that has a good message behind it. I hope this movie finds an audience on the home market because this is sure winner of a film.