REVIEW: The Spectacular Now

16 08 2013

I really did like the first act of “The Spectacular Now” because it felt honest and real. Miles Teller’s Sutter Keeley felt like someone I would have known in high school, a burgeoning alcoholic with a big unchecked ego. And Shailene Woodley’s Aimee Finicke reminded me quite a bit of myself, someone bookish but a bit insecure and completely unable to picture anyone having romantic feelings about them.

I was so looking forward to the direction that the film was heading … and then Sutter and Aimee share the moment we saw coming a mile away, their first kiss. From there on out, “The Spectacular Now” heads south as the authenticity of the story and the believability of the characters flies out the window. The script, penned by “(500) Days of Summer” scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, descends into a mire of archetypes and cliches.

It’s a little more understandable for Sutter to become a flat character as his personality is so based on living up to a cultural ideal of care-free ignorance. But it’s disappointing to watch Aimee just a flip a switch and become a totally different person. Before the kiss, she was so refreshingly independent and derived her sense of self-worth from within, not from others. Afterwards, Aimee becomes little more than an accessory to Sutter, fawning over him at all times and constantly caressing him.

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