Ever wondered what Ferris Bueller was like when he wasn’t ditchin’ school? Meet Charlie Bartlett. The difference is Charlie doesn’t start out as big man on campus. In fact on his first day at a new school (his old one kicked him out for making fake ids) he’s ridiculed for his clothes and gets a swirlie from the resident bully.
Luckily, just like in real life drugs fix everything. Charlie with the unwitting help of his family physician, starts dispensing prescription medicine to all the kiddies. Lo and behold Charlie becomes the most popular kid at school! But there’s still one person who just doesn’t like Charlie – Principle Buzz Kill. And it probably doesn’t help that Charlie’s banging the principal’s daughter either.
I totally went into this thinking: bad Ferris Bueller clone. To my surprise I liked it, not as much as Ferris Bueller but a good film nonetheless. Underneath all his bravado Charlie unlike Ferris is unsure about his place in the world, not only has he had to raise himself but he’s also had to take care of his less than stable mom while his father serves an unspecified sentence for tax evasion. Charlie is definitely a much easier character to relate to. My only problem with the movie is the after school special feel it’s got.
Spoilers: Charlie learns selling drugs is bad. Charlie learns he’s still just a kid and shouldn’t grow up to fast. Charlie’s girlfriend quits smoking and returns to singing. The dejected principal returns to his passion of teaching and rebuilds his relationship with his daughter. The bully goes straight. Charlie goes straight applying for an internship in psychiatry. While Ferris Bueller had only one lesson: Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
- indie rockers Spiral Beach appear as themselves (now playing in the L7 Jukebox).
- Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett) plays Chekov in the new Star Trek movie due out this Xmas.
- Rated R for brief nudity. Unfortunately, it’s not Kat Dennings.