You could draw a line from Ferris Bueller through Max Fischer (Rushmore) and Jason Slocumb (Igby Goes Down) to arrive at Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) – a rich kid who’s (a) a neurotic screw-up who keeps getting expelled and (b) smart, accomplished and unnaturally self-possessed. Exiled to a school where even the teachers don’t wear blazers, Charlie wins over the student body with the pharmaceuticals his army of psychiatrists is happy to supply. As if American high school kids couldn’t get hold of Ritalin... Starting as a satire on therapy culture, John Poll’s comedy loses its footing early on and ends up blaming grown-ups for everything. Which may be right, but doesn’t excuse the lame storytelling. Watch it for the acting: especially Robert Downey Jr as the pickled principal.
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