Media Maven: “Rocket Science” Movie Review

Media Maven: “Rocket Science” Movie Review

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Rocket Science
Reece Daniel Thompson, Anna Kendrick, Nicholas D’Agosto, Vincent Piazza, Aaron Yoo, Josh Kay

"Rocket Science" is a film about life; in particular, Hal Hefner’s complicated, coming of age life. Do not be fooled into thinking this is just another teen comedy, even though there is the awkward first love, the tormenting older brother and the angst of going from middle school to high school.

Into the mix of all the usual elements of adolescent uncertainty add the fact that our main character Hal, played by Reece Daniel Thompson, has a stutter. We meet Hal and his brother Earl as they witness their father walking out on them as their mother bemoans their father’s faults.

Jeffrey Blitz wrote and directed this film. He has an uncanny sense of the frailties and absurdities that life serves up. Although not autobiographical, Jeffrey Blitz did stutter in high school and joined the debate team in hopes of conquering his impediment. Our character Hal gets recruited into joining the debate team by a formidable, competitive, self assured second-place winner from the year before.

Anna Kendrick aka Ginny Ryerson plays the single minded, over achieving student determined to rebound from the consternation of former teammate, Ben Wekselbaum’s (Nicholas D’Agosto) downfall at last year’s debate finals. No mourning for Ginny — no time — “cut your losses and move on.” This is a girl with a mission.

Unfortunately for Hal, being the tool by which Ginny hopes to mold into a winning combination only serves to confuse him. What does she see in him? What attracts her to him? How will he get to first base? Does she really believe the stuttering Hal can recite a counterpoint for a debate on teen abstinence?

It is precisely those questions that keep us watching and rooting for this unlikely underdog. In fact, don’t we all ask those questions of ourselves? What do they see in me? What is the attraction? Will I make the cut? Combine this earnest search for the meaning of life and the eclectic soundtrack and lyrics by Eef Barzelay (of Clem Snide) and the Violent Femmes and you’ll find this movie a winner.

Although we can’t say as much for Hal’s debating skills; we certainly can enjoy the humorous, and at times, painfully human script that tells this story of one teen’s discovery and triumph.

Chic Stars: 4.5

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.

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