Charlie Bartlett | Chicago Reader

Charlie Bartlett

A rebellious teen comedy that isn't as good or as radical as Pump Up the Volume, but still feels like a shot in the arm and is full of irreverent energy. Jon Poll's debut feature—with a witty script by Gustin Nash—centers on a wealthy, frequently expelled title hero (Anton Yelchin) who becomes the most popular kid at his high school once he starts prescribing and selling pharmaceuticals to his classmates that he acquires from his own shrink, and then leads a revolt against surveillance cameras in the student lounge. Despite an ineffectual subplot about the hero's absent father, there are some good satirical riffs here on adult hypocrisies (with Robert Downey Jr. especially good as the beleaguered, alcoholic school principal), a few echoes of the underrated Mumford, and lots of high spirits. With Kat Dennings, Hope Davis, and Tyler Hilton. R, 97 min.

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