The kids at Western Summit High have "issues," and newcomer Charlie Bartlett is coming to their rescue. With a briefcase full of prescription pills and a head full of pop psychology, this rebel with a cause brings hilariou... more »s help to the student body and unending grief to their neurotic principal, Mr. Gardner (Robert Downey, Jr.). Suddenly, Charlie is the hottest man on campus and he's even caught the eye of Gardner's sultry daughter. An outrageous send-up of today's Prozac generation, Charlie Bartlett has your prescription for laugh-out-loud insanity!« less
""Charlie Bartlett" is a run-of-the-mill teen comedy drama with a little twist. The twist being that even though it possesses all the cliches and tropes of its rather limited genre, it somehow manages to go just a little bit deeper than most. Which makes all the difference in the world.
First of all, the main characters are superbly played. Anton Yelchin is immensely adorable, and has quite the emotional range (not to mention his facial expressions range...). I hope he gets to play more roles like this one, because the boy sure has a lot of talent - both for comedy and drama. Robert Downey Jr. is a class unto himself and needs no superlatives. Suffice to say he does what he does best - portraying a character with problems, a little bit unsure of himself, a little bit wrong about stuff and possessing a lot of inner strength. The other members of the cast are forgettable, but never disappoint.
The atmosphere of the movie is fantastic. "Charlie Bartlett" is a very dynamic, very "rhythmic" piece. In this (and other things, mainly in the music and plot departments) it resembles the show "Weeds", even though its themes are more in line with UK's drama "Skins".
What really touches you though, are the characters. They are all just a little bit more real than what we're used to in movies like this one, but as I said in the beginning - that's quite enough. Charlie is both really strong and quite vulnerable, and Yelchin does a superb job in portraying this. He has admirable qualities, and he has obvious flaws - he can switch between likable and dislikable in the matter of seconds. Downey Jr.'s Principle Gardner is an alcoholic who has self-esteem issues and trouble connecting with his otherwise loving daughter Susan. The way he sees Charlie as almost a villain - a rival! - when the boy starts dating Susan is masterfully subtle and absolutely amazing. And he is not the bad guy. There is no bad guy in this movie, which is one more thing to like about it.
All in all, "Charlie Bartlett" does have its flaws. It is vain, it is filled with cliches to the brim and even though I couldn't possibly comprehend this, it seems some people find Anton Yelchin's Charlie exceedingly annoying. But "Charlie Bartlett" is also lively, honest, subtle and beautifully shot. Add to this the mood-lightening soundtrack and the supreme acting, and you have a movie well worth watching. So do yourself a favor and watch it!"
"Hi! I'm Charlie Bartlett!"
Laszlo Matyas | 02/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charlie Bartlett is a genius, an outcast, a legend, and an accidental hero. He's an unabashed nerd who somehow manages to ooze cool and charisma. He's smart, clean-shaven, loves his parents, acts on an earnest desire to help those around him, and is as a result seen as a rebel and a subversive. He doesn't oppose authority; it opposes him. He becomes a local saint by selling mood-altering drugs to his fellow high-school students, and is vilified only for trying to stake out his own identity and help his fellow teenagers do the same. He's an innocent rebel in search of a cause. He's our Ferris Bueller.
As a coming of age story, Charlie Bartlett deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as The Graduate or The Catcher In The Rye. It's hilarious, touching, and smart, full of deliciously subverted clichés and gorgeously wrought characters. It tells that same age-old story (a young man struggles to find his identity, and thus becomes an emblem for his entire generation) with unparalleled skill, unfeigned sympathy, and bottomless humor. The movie's titular character really is a fantastic creation: He's a bundle of contradictions and ironies, a balance of endearing naiveté and knowing, sardonic sarcasm, all of which conceals a deep sensitivity and sense of longing.
Oh, and did I mention that this is a first-rate comedy? As touching and insightful as it is, Charlie Bartlett is a also a gut-bustingly funny, endlessly entertaining movie, full of iconic scenes, memorable dialogue, sharp satire, and sheer hysterics. The jokes come fast and easy, the characters are full of quirks, the story is wonderfully paced and relentlessly engrossing, and the climax is as gripping and heartrending as you could possibly ask. Even the film's occasional missteps- a few of the ideas seem underdeveloped or awkwardly handled- aren't particularly troublesome. In fact, they add to the loose, freewheeling atmosphere that pervades the whole thing. See it!"
Charlie Bartlett...Role Model?
George McAdams | Alabama, USA | 06/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie's reviews, more than any I've seen in quite a while, are all over the place, which is quite unusual for some of these teen angst movies because they are usually loved my one group, or age, and panned by another.
As someone in their late 50's, who was an Air Force "brat" that seemed to move every two years or so, and whose father "retired" from the service when I was in my teens, I found this to be a credible movie. In my instance, we moved to rural Alabama after having lived in Germany, South Carolina, Taiwan, and Michigan. In addition to the "foreign" accent that I had that was slightly northern, I, also, was one of those short, smart aleck PIA's.
In Charlie's case, after being kicked-out of every private school there is, he is faced with the inevitable situation of having to attend public school, where he has confrontations with the school bully, played exceptionally well by Tyler Hilton, tries to get serious with an attractive girl student, who he doesn't realize is the principal's daughter, and butts heads with the principal, played in an understated way by Robert Downey Jr. Toss-in a mother who is half-flaky, a situation with his father we never quite understand (Hey what's a little tax evasion among the rich) and you have Charlie's situation.
Along the way, Charlie, played by Anton Yelchin, finds, through "chemistry," a way to interrelate to the other students by becoming a pseudo drug-dealer/counselor, with the counselor concept becoming a way that he fulfills himself.
In Charlie's case, he is successful, and to this end, he constantly strives to help others as a means of finding something worthwhile about himself.
I thought "Charlie Bartlett" was a good movie, much better than most people seem to be giving it credit, but I can understand where they are coming from with regards to their criticism, for it doesn't seem this could happen, but trust me, this could, and probably does more than the teachers realize.
I only give this movie four stars because of two scenes, both come at the piano, where, first, Charlie and his mom, pleyed by Hope Davis, sing "Those were he Days," ala "All in the Family;" and the second when Charlie and the principal's daughter, Kat Dennings, play and sing at the piano. Both lacked any lead-in to the scene, and could have been left-out without much impact on the movie, although Kat's scene did show a dice of her you didn't always see otherwise.
Overall the movie showed that sometimes we choose life's roles, and sometimes those roles are chosen for us, but whatever is the case, we all have roles...at the very least they are to set a bad example, and at the most, they are to inspire.
By the end of the movie we see how Charlie, his mother, his girlfriend, and his principal all inspire...."
CHARLIE BARTLETT IS A WINNER! 4 1/2 STARS!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 03/20/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Surprise, surprise! ....this film was such a surprise. This quirky comedy is a bit predictable, but remains fresh throughout its hour and thirty minute running length. 'Charlie Bartlett' is one of the best teen comedies I've seen in years, largely because of the performances of Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr.,Hope Davis and Kat Dennings. This film could have gone totally serious and worked, but it works very well as the dark comedy satire that it is..... even if it's a little light."
A little generic, but enjoyable
Alan Starr | Lawrence, MA | 05/18/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pretty good, but I'm not quite as thrilled with is as some reviewers. Some witty dialogue, and the teens felt like real teenagers in high school, but some of the plot stuff seemed pretty generic. Still, in lesser hands this could have been awful, with the kids coming off and whiners and spoiled brats. Instead they seemed like individuals with real problems (at least with problems that seem real to them). I just could have lived without some of the cliched student-vs-authority plotlines. (Although Robert Downey Jr. does a nice job as a self-loathing principal)."