Box art for The Wackness

The Wackness

comedy, drama

New York, summer 1994, the greatest year in hip-hop, a troubled teenage drug dealer trades pot for therapy sessions with a drug-addled psychiatrist intent on living his life to the fullest.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
3 out of 5

Bittersweet coming-of-age pic about a pot dealer.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this movie stars Josh Peck from the wildly popular sitcom Drake and Josh, it's definitely not aimed at the Nickelodeon show's tween fan base. The film centers around an awkward high school senior who's a marijuana dealer. Like many coming-of-age-stories, it focuses on the mature themes of burgeoning sexuality (including several love scenes, jokes about virginity, and glimpses of a naked backside and breasts), drug use (many, many shots of teens and adults smoking pot), and first love. There's also a fair amount of drinking and cigarette smoking among 18- to 20-year-olds.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about two of the film's messages -- that adolescence is a time to take risks and "make a mess out of life" and that the decisions you make in your youth shape your adult life. Why does Dr. Squires give Josh conflicting advice? What are the universal themes of this story? How are Stephanie's and Luke's characters nontraditional when it comes to teen relationships?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 29
    see all The Wackness reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: On the downside: There is a wackness to The Wackness, a saggy psychic undertow that drags down its lighter and smarter aspects.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, July 25, 2008

Fresh: This is a gently humorous and beautifully moving film.

- Annette Basile, FILMINK (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Levine, who wrote the film as well as directed it, re-creates 1994 with the painstaking detail usually reserved for period pieces and costume dramas.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The Wackness was like pure nostalgia for me. Swap New York for London and I can relate to much of the story and this felt like a proper 90's film, made by someone who is just as fond of the decade as I am. I loved the pace of the film too, you could probably smoke a bit of the green while watching to great effect (I'd imagine ;o). I thought everyone did a great job, I loved Ben Kingsley's performance and I thought Josh Peck was actually quite good. Although it would be nice if he closed his mouth once in a while. Ahh, life was much simpler then.....

- SirPant, Wednesday, June 5, 2013

4 stars

Great! I thought it would be a very boring normal film with little heart, but when I decided to give it a chance, it proved me wrong! It ia a masterpiece!

- fb733768972, Wednesday, January 13, 2010

3 stars

Not really to my liking, but it is a good film and well done. I have to say hip hop (of which there is plenty all over this movie - anyone who loved it in the 90's - where this movie is set - will just love this movie, no question about it) and teen drug dealers don't really do it for me as themes, so that would be the reason I didn't fully warm to this, while having to acknowledge that it actually is quite good. I think under it all is the common theme of alienation and having screw ups for parents (although this poor girl, (OliviaThirlby), really has something to complain about - her parents are more infantile than she is, and one of them a paid shrink. Scary). The main character, Luke, (Josh Peck) is the aforementioned teen drug dealer, very well played and convincing. The small role of Mary Kate Olsen was of interest, although nothing mind blowing. The 90's setting was a nice distraction, although personally that variety of music was not for me, I did remember a few of the songs, however. I did enjoy the fashions in this. Overall whether you should see this or not depends on what you find interesting in a movie. If you like coming of age films in general and want something a little darker, maybe give it a go.

- romy861, Monday, January 3, 2011