January 21, 2007
Sundance. Rocket Science.It's "a festival-friendly comedy/drama very much in the vein of Thumbsucker, Art School Confidential and Napoleon Dynamite," writes Scott Weinberg at Cinematical. "Tailor-made to appeal to the kinds of audiences who regularly show up at the Sundance Film Festival, Rocket Science is certainly well-made and heartfelt enough to earn some praise - but it's also more than a little familiar, and (despite several excellent performances) it's not all that consistently funny a piece. Quirky, colorful and filled with typically oddball characters, sure, but not all that funny." "My favorite movie after nearly 3 full days of festing," declares AICN's Quint. Updated through 1/27. "Rocket Science has a few things in common with 1999's Election, from its purposefully drab visuals to its larger-than-life personalities - all variations on recognizable high-school types, albeit a hundred times brighter, better-spoken and more interesting," writes Variety's Justin Chang. "But [Jeffrey] Blitz's film is ultimately a sweeter, more heartfelt picture, more barbed coming-of-age tale than satire, and very much on the side of its lovably awkward hero, Hal Hefner (wonderfully played by Reece Daniel Thompson)." "[A]s in his Academy Award-nominated documentary Spellbound, [Blitz] presents adolescence as it really is," writes Zoom In Online's Annie Frisbie. "Blitz's teens earn our respect because they fight for dignity, and win our hearts when he lets them lose." "Quirky coming-of-age comic-dramas are not a rare species, especially at Sundance," notes Anthony Kaufman at indieWIRE, obviously not one to shy from the Q-word, either. "But Rocket Science, Jeffrey Blitz's narrative debut, bristles with sharply written dialogue, a fresh-faced cast and an offbeat tone somewhere between Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne and 80s John Cusack movies." Update, 1/22: Alison Willmore at the IFC Blog: "Rocket Science has its share of problems - it goes on too long, and it's saddled with a needless and irritating voiceover and far too many swelling music moments. Still, the film has an unfeigned sweetness that, in combo with clever throwaway details like a couple whose music therapy involves playing Violent Femmes songs on a cello and piano, make it a welcome variation on a Sundance trope." Update, 1/27: Blitz's "determination not to succumb to cliché pays hilarious dividends throughout, but also ultimately makes Rocket Science feel more like a collection of sharp sketches than a bona fide film," writes Mike D'Angelo at ScreenGrab. Coverage of the coverage: The Park City Index.
Posted by dwhudson at January 21, 2007 10:49 AM