Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Bob Odenkirk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Synopsis: A hard-partying high school senior’s philosophy on life changes when he meets the not so typical ‘nice girl’.

In a year when I have seen some cracking coming of age dramas like The Way, Way Back and Kings of summer, I have to say this one was a huge disappointment in comparison.

Miles Teller plays Sutter who is, I think, supposed to be the cool kid at school with a hot girl on his arm, played by Brie Larson. They split up and he winds up going out with the nerdy girl, Aimee, played by Shailene Woodley. Here’s the thing. I never once believed that Sutter was in anyway cool or popular at all, and certainly not too good looking for Aimee, who was probably on a par with his so called hot ex girlfriend any way. So if I was supposed to buy into it that he was falling for the nerd, it didn’t happen.

I realise, being an old thirty something dad that I’m not really the target audience for this young adult kind of stuff. But heh, I don’t feel old, and I love a coming of age drama as much as any other type of film. This one was just average though. I’m guessing that the dialogue was maybe improvised, by the way the characters spoke to each other, but that just led to bland dialogue (in fact it was kind of the perfect antidote to The Counselor from yesterday’s review)! It’s nice to have realism sometimes, but the characters still need to speak with a bit of a spark.

It picked up nearer the end when Teller and Aimee go to meet his Dad, but not for long and then it was back to wishing it was a profound high school coming of age thing. To be honest, I found American Pie to be more profound about the trials of leaving school behind.

2.5 clappers

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Ah I’ve been meaning to watch this! Great review, I’m pretty sure I’ll absolutely love it as you didn’t haha 😉

    • Up against Kings of Summer and The Way way Back in the coming of age stakes this was the worst, so yeah you will probably like it Jenny haha

  2. Thanks for your insights, Tom. 🙂
    I guess that I am going to skip this movie. 😉

  3. It’s the type of movie you don’t often see marketed towards teenagers, considering it deals with many issues none of them would like to admit to facing themselves. One of the main ones being the idea of rejection and that life, usually, doesn’t always pan-out to the way you want it to be. A harsh reality, but a reality nonetheless that this movie taps into quite a few times. Good review Thomas.

    • I’ve read loads of reviews giving this film some awesome reviews, including one of roger Eberts last reviews. I just didn’t love it myself.

  4. I loved the Way, Way Back! So I’ll just re-watch that sometime instead of seeing this. Adventureland is also a good one in this genre, have you watched that?

    • Having seen some reviews and scores for The Spectacular Now since my review, it appears I’m in the minority, so you may actually enjoy it.

      Yeah, I really liked Adventureland. It’s kind of a companion to The Way, Way Back isn’t it.

  5. I loved this. But the thing is, I can fully understand your reasoning. The few negative reactions to it on Rotten Tomatoes that I read were poorly written, and it seemed like they just did it to stand out, and to have a unique opinion. In other words, I am complimenting your honesty and its nice to see another well written view, despite it being the opposite of mine.

  6. Good call on the dialogue, that was one of my main issues as well. From what I remember I feel pretty much the same way about this film. Nothing too remarkable I don’t know what it resonated so much with certain people. Maybe they had similar experiences IDK..

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