I watched Rocket Science nearly two months ago and forgot to write a movie review for it, so forgive me if this analysis is a bit abridged. Rocket Science, about a young man with a speech impediment who joins the debate team, is a funny, lighthearted little drama that doesn't break any new ground, but isn't so astounding that I felt the need to get out and broadcast its greatness immediately.
Reece Thompson stars as Hal Hefner, a nerdy, stuttering teenager who finds his calling when the attractive and ultra-smart debate champion Ginny (Anna Kendrick) recruits him to be her partner. Hal, an unlikely candidate for the debate team, stumbles - and stutters - his way through debate, never quite attaining the potential that Ginny supposedly sees in him. That doesn't stop him from making an equally unlikely move on Ginny, and the two strike up an awkward, secret relationship. As the debate championship nears, however, true motives begin to reveal themselves.
Rocket Science is a quirky dramedy that will appeal to people who like quirky dramedies. The almost-genre comes and goes over the years, often with waves of wannabes (Running with Scissors) amongst the true winners (About Schmidt). Rocket Science falls somewhere in between, but on the side of good. The movie never blows you away, but has just enough laughs and entertaining moments.
Thompson does a great job in the lead, capturing the essence of awkwardness to the extreme. He makes for an unlikely hero, but by the end of the movie, you'll be rooting for him to succeed. Kendrick is also terrific as a fast-talking, too-smart-for-her-own-good bitch.
While Rocket Science isn't an amazing film, I loved the final third of the movie. Writer/director Jeffrey Blitz throws the audience a curveball; the movie doesn't go the direction you would have guessed or even predicted, and it's refreshing to see the movie come to a conclusion that isn't the cliché, sappy Hollywood ending. Two months after watching the film there are several parts I cannot recollect, but the twist in the story remains in memory. For an otherwise ordinary movie, that's saying a lot.
Rocket Science isn't a terrific movie, but it's entertaining from beginning to end. Quality writing and great acting from a young, unrecognizable cast makes this one of the better quirky dramedies in recent years.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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