I liked this movie better when it was called Mumford. Charlie Bartlett is the story of a troubled 17-year-old rich kid (Anton Yelchin) who craves popularity and finds it by becoming the resident therapist and psychopharmacologist to his latest high school. He eventually locks horns with the school principal (Robert Downey, Jr.), whose daughter (Kat Denning) Charlie has taken a romantic interest in. The movie never quite decides what sort of movie it wants to be, switching from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off airiness to Pump Up The Volume/The Catcher In The Rye earnestness to Animal House/M*A*S*H style irreverence. None of its pieces ever really fit together, and the result is a toneless mess with some funny moments and some very good performances. More demerits for its status as a R-rated film with a PG-13 heart. Charlie Bartlett isn’t a bad movie, but it’s not a very good one, either.

MONKEY RATING: THREE MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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MONKEY REVIEW: The Nines

February 16, 2008

Entertaining, fairly absorbing and often eerie indie art film with Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy and Elle Fanning starring in three interconnected stories. As long as it remains mysterious, the movie works, but the answers at the end are a bit of a letdown. Nevertheless, the actors make it an easy ride, especially Reynolds, who, like Davis and McCarthy, convincingly plays three separate characters. If he hadn’t been as good as he is here, the movie wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. Reynolds, despite his tendency to appear in some questionable movies, is actually one of my favorite actors, and he makes this worth seeing, despite the weak end.

MONKEY RATING: TWO MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)