Genres: Comedy and Teen
Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.
Release Date: February 22nd, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for language, drug content and brief nudity.
Distributors: MGM Distribution Company
Directed by: Jon Poll
JJ Rating: B+
A boy who loves to walk the line of right and wrong and do so because of the thrill, but it gets him kicked out of, yet, another private school. He then goes to a public school and that is where his dreams finally start to come true. Charlie Bartlett.
I found the movie to be mildly comically clever. Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) wants to be popular and he is constantly told that there is more to life than being popular, but that does not deter him from still really wanting it. So he decides to have “sessions” in the restroom. He sits in one stall while another student sits in another and they tell them their problems. He listens and gives them advice. He works with Murphy (Tyler Hilton—singer and most noticeable on the show One Tree Hill) who is his cashier of sorts. The students really like him and what he does for everyone. What Charlie really wants is to be appreciated just like any one in the world wants.
Susan Gardner is played by Kat Dennings and she is the daughter of the principal (Robert Downey Jr.). She falls for Charlie and she’s funny because she constantly states his entire name when she speaks with him. She has an interesting relationship with her father. Downey is amusing. It’s a nice taste of his acting before he busts out in Iron Man later this year. I have to say I didn’t notice I missed his movie presence until I saw this film and now realized I do miss him. Anton Yelchin shines as the new comer. He’s good. He held scenes on his own and the best ones were his reaction to Ritalin. That is one of my favorite parts. Hope Davis plays Marilyn Bartlett Charlie’s mother. She plays a calm, subdued woman wonderfully. I really liked her in this movie. I liked EVERY single scene she was in and she had a great, soft presence. Tyler Hilton was the face I knew but could not place. It bugged me throughout that movie. I was thoroughly entertained by his bad boy persona. He does a great job of ‘I’m going to beat you into next week if you don’t step back’ while at the same time having the softer side melting and dripping like ice cream.
Good scenes are many. As I mentioned every scene that has Davis in it are pretty funny because her character is so powerfully controlled calm. She’s like brimming to want to explode but doesn’t because of the control she has or is under, depending on how you look at it. The scenes that have Yelchin and Hilton together are goofy-clever funny. It’s amusing because they could not be more opposite. How they become friends is one of the better scenes.
I wanted to LOVE this movie. But I just really like it, instead. One of the reasons it failed for me was the need to put in the sex. It was awkward to have it placed in the movie, to me. It felt out of place. I thought the film could have dealt with the story without having to fall in to the cliché of sex in a car. Even though it handled it slightly different and a bit more interestingly than other movies it still failed. It almost felt like the sex was there because then Charlie could go out and say that line that was amusing. It didn’t come off as a great idea. I also wanted to have deep sympathy for Charlie’s sadness that his father isn’t around and the story didn’t work that angle very well. It could have worked it but instead it seemed to ignore it.
Overall I did like Charlie Bartlett and I am going to own it when it ventures out on DVD BLUE RAY…uh nix the BLUE RAY and we’ve got a deal. I don’t need to feel like going to the theater when I am in my home when my home has a phone, a door, intrusive windows that allow sun or the sound of dogs and stupid neighbors through. I just like watching the film, if I want to have a theater experience so bad I’ll buy one when I’m old and have millions.
It’s not a FANTASTIC film it’s a good film. If you are entertained by the trailer and find it amusing you won’t be disappointed when you go and see the film. The trailer doesn’t lie. If you see it you might want to repeat the line in the film like I love doing, “I am Charlie Bartlett.”