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The Spectacular Now

By KRISTI MITSUDA
The Spectacular Now opens with a male voice-over lamenting a recent breakup. That’s the same way (500) Days of Summer—the previous film from screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber—began, but here the narration comes courtesy of high-school senior Sutter (Miles Teller). It’s accompanied by a montage of Sutter pounding shots among packs of friends, sometimes poolside: This hard-drinking bro just wants to have fun, and he’s down about losing his ex, because, he plaintively says, “We were the life of the party.” Given the film’s pedigree and setup, you half expect a manic pixie dream girl to come along and school Sutter on being real. So that Sutter befriends and then falls for off-the-radar Aimee (The Descendants’ Shailene Woodley)—a sweet, manga-reading girl—feels all the more refreshing. Aimee is a perfect foil to suave Sutter, her smiles endearingly goofy and the oiliness of her skin suitably teenaged. As unabashedly sincere as the film itself, she’ll unleash Sutter’s inner angel. But The Spectacular Now, directed by James Ponsoldt, here again surprises, cementing it as more than just another teen movie. But if the film’s lesson—that Sutter must make peace with his past in order to confront his future—seems a bit pat, well, arriving at a personal understanding of such clichés is part of coming of age.
 
  • Genres: Comedy drama
  • Running Time: 95 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, August 2, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Alcohol Use, All Involving Teens, Language, Some Sexuality ]
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Miles Teller [Sutter Keely], Shailene Woodley [Aimee Finicky], Brie Larson [Cassidy], Jennifer Leigh [], Mary Winstead [Holly Keely], Kyle Chandler [], Kaitlyn Dever [Krystal], Bob Odenkirk [], Andre Royo [], Dayo Okeniyi [Marcus], Gary Weeks [Joe], Masam Holden [Ricky], Nicci Faires [Tara], Whitney Christopher [Roberta]
  • Directed by: James Ponsoldt [Director], Scott Neustadter [Screenwriter], Michael Weber [Screenwriter], Michelle Krumm [Producer], Andrew Lauren [Producer], Shawn Levy [Producer], Tom McNulty [Producer], Scott Neustadter [Executive Producer], Michael Weber [Executive Producer], Marc Shmuger [Executive Producer], Rob Simonsen [Original Music], Jess Hall [Cinematographer], Darrin Navarro [Film Editor], Angela Demo [Casting], Barbara McCarthy [Casting], Linda Sena [Production Design], Jess Royal [Set Decoration], Peggy Stamper [Costume Designer]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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