The Wackness

  • The Wackness
  • Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby, Mary-Kate Olsen
  • Directed by Jonathan Levine

File under "Sights I Never Expected to See": Mary-Kate Olsen macking on Sir Ben Kingsley. But there it is, just one of the wacked moments in the Audience Award winner at this year's Sundance. Call it an almost-there comedy with diverting compensations. Sir Ben is one. He's a hoot as Dr. Squires, a Manhattan shrink, circa 1994, who trades therapy to pot-dealing high schooler Luke (a terrific Josh Peck) for weed. His Rx for the kid: Get laid. The doc doesn't mean it should be his stepdaughter Stephanie (Juno's Olivia Thirlby gives a sensual, sassy, breakthrough performance). Writer-director Jonathan Levine wants to get at the desire to bite into what's forbidden in Giuliani's Big Apple (cue the shrink and Mary-Kate). But for all its wicked delights and tasty acting, The Wackness hangs back when you most want it to sting.

From The Archives Issue 420: April 26, 1984