30 January 2011 | intelearts
My 359th Review: Clearly one of the better films of 2010: Fleck / Boden do it again
Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden are, in this reviewer's opinion, the best writer / director team working in film today. Both Half Nelson and Sugar (Which made my top 5 for 2008) were good and here they go more mainstream and produce a simple yet vibrant low-fi comedy. If you go expecting the Hangover, a full on comedy, then this might take some adjusting to - it is more than that. It reminded us most of the same vibe Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist had.
Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is an angsty teen and checks himself into a psych ward for 5 days. He is excellent, like a cross between Justin Long and Michael Cera and should get good work off the back of this. Here Craig meets the wizened Bobby (Zack Galifianakis), who has a complete emotional range here, his hangdog is perfect and watched closely you'll see every thought and facial gesture with real pleasure, and a teenage girl his age, Noelle (Emma Roberts). The supporting cast have groupworked this really well and it all just gels nicely. The film is a journey of self- discovery.
What lifts this is it doesn't have a mean bone in its body yet delivers beautifully - this film is firstly, optimistic about pessimism and abounds with humor, laughter, and originality, and secondly, Fleck again coxes the the actors to simply act, without excess.
It does a wonderful balancing act of making us see the world afresh too. In addition to all this it is totally refreshing to see a teen movie that is about teens and their world and not just another slapstick sex comedy.
I could only wish for 20 films a year like this, rather than the cookie cutter production values that govern Hollywood. The common trait in all three films are honesty, struggle, and eventually, something more. That's three in a row for Fleck / Boden - and I, for one, can't wait to see the fourth...