Rocket Science | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Rocket Science

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Five years after directing his hit documentary about spelling bees, Spellbound (2002), Jeffrey Blitz returns with a high school comedy that builds on that film's winning combination of academic stress and offbeat individuals. A put-upon student with a stuttering problem (Reece Thompson) is dragooned by a ferociously competitive schoolmate (Anna Kendrick) to be her partner on the debate squad, and their assigned topic--teaching abstinence in public schools--proves ironic given his deep desire to get his hands on her. The hero's sexual feelings are complicated by his situation at home: his dad has recently moved out and been replaced by his mother's obnoxious new lover (Steve Park) and his teenage son. Quietly written and convincingly played, this coming-of-age story mines its rueful laughs from a thick vein of performance anxiety, in both senses of the term. R, 98 min. a Landmark's Century Centre. --J.R. Jones

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment