A coming-of-age Hulu comedy about a good kid under bad influences.
In “Big Time Adolescence,” we meet a high school kid named Mo Harris (Griffin Gluck) hanging out with his best friend-the college dropout Zeke (Pete Davidson)-whom his older sister (Emily Arlook from “Grown-ish”) used to date. And he also finds himself delivering marijuana to high school senior parties where his classmate (Thomas Barbusca) is invited. I think we agree: he’s a good kid under bad influences.
That’s the set-up for the movie, which has just been released on Hulu a week early. Now, I read Richard Roeper’s article saying that watching movies online lacks the magic of being in a theater. But given the Coronavirus circumstances, we’re going to have to make do.
It’s like if “Risky Business” had a crazy night with “Mid90s,” and had a baby.
Only Mo’s sister and parents (Jon Cryer and Julia Murney) tell him he should stop seeing Zeke; and he also gets in trouble for getting high in his car, and for getting a “Tongue Daddy” tattoo on his chest. And he also ruins a relationship he just started with Sophie (Oona Laurence), because of him taking Zeke’s advice of ghosting her for a new days.
I know “Saturday Night Live” helped launch Pete Davidson’s career. I never really noticed him in “Trainwreck” or “What Men Want,” and I certainly found him wasted in “The Jesus Rolls,” which I’m glad you all skipped, by the way. But with “Big Time Adolescence,” he delivers the goods as a pothead with tattoos on his body, baked dialogue, and and lack of motivation. He’s entertaining as a loser, and I think I’m beginning to like this actor.
Griffin Gluck began his movie career in “Just Go With It,” but he got much better by taking the lead role in “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.” He had his heart in the place as a troublemaker fighting a broken system, and in “Big Time Adolescence,” he’s able to expand his horizons, by portraying a kid who learns about booze, pot, and high school parties. He and Davidson both have chemistry, despite negatives responses from other characters.
It does get depressing at times when we see the kid abandon his family’s activities, because of how I dislike when young people separate themselves from their parents. But glass half full, I prefer this movie over those Progressive sign-spinning ads, and Cryer is believable as the kid’s father. And the movie, written and directed by Jason Orley, splices comedy with drama.
I was tickled at times, and I was moved at times, kudos to Davidson and Gluck. These modern-day coming-of-age stories (“Eighth Grade,” “Boyhood,” etc.) are able to let us see through the colors of the parties, drugs, and puberty. We’re able to see that these characters are people, too, once you get to know them. They make stupid choices, which partially ruin their lives, but you’re able to see feel their emotions and levity.
“Big Time Adolescence” knows what those elements are.
Available for streaming on Hulu