Matthew Lickona 8 p.m., Dec. 17
The Spectacular Now
Charismatic youngster Miles Teller stars in yet another substance abuse pic. In Project X, he played Miles Teller (!), college kid chasing high school skirt while getting wasted at a house party. In 21 & Over, he played a college dropout on a quest to get his old high school buddy blasted on his 21st birthday. Here, he's a failing high-schooler who's never without his flask, thanks mostly to his absent father. He hooks up with "nice girl" Aimee (a too-pretty-for-the-part Shailene Woodley) and introduces her to the sauce. She takes to it like mother's milk (actually, Dad died from pills), and the two of them share a boozy interlude before reality comes crashing in. Or at least, comes creeping around the edges. Everything here — high school, teenage romance, adolescent drinking — seems a step removed from the messy intensity of reality. Or maybe it's the audience that's a step removed: held at arm's length lest we miss the point. There's plenty of mood, but not enough feeling. 2013.
- "It depends on the copyright of the movie" • February 20, 2014