Sunday, January 3, 2010

Robert Downey, Jr. Ouevre #1 - Charlie Bartlett

My lack of interest in watching movies is well-documented. Nonetheless, I find my attitude changing a little bit. I watched a number of good ones in November and decided that maybe I'll expose myself to some more. Being as I like to have projects and objectives, I thought it would be fun to try and watch all of Robert Downey, Jr.'s movies this year.

Why Robert Downey, Jr.? I just like him. He's been around a long time, has been through some tough spots in his life, and is entertaining. So why not?

I picked up Charlie Bartlett at the library. Fun movie. A kid, Charlie Bartlett, played by Anton Yelchin, finds himself dismissed from yet another of a long list of private schools. His father is in prison for tax evasion and his wealthy mother (Hope Davis) is a nutjob. Charlie isn't a bad kid, just misguided. He has had to step up to be the man of the house and has lost his sense of being a kid.

Charlie falls for a girl (Kat Dennings) whose father, played by our hero, is the principal of the public school in which Charlie is now enrolled. Downey is an alcoholic and a single father, his wife having passed away. He's quirky, maybe even neurotic, and has a difficult time keeping the kids in his school under control.

The movie is pretty funny. I laughed out loud in several spots. Charlie is a little ridiculous in his precociousness. I also thought he looked much older than the character he plays. Turns out he's much closer than I thought. The bully-nerd play gets a nice twist. A little too heavy on the psychobabble which ultimately brought down my rating.

Downey is solid but is definitely a tertiary character. I thought he did a good job pulling off the role of the difficult role; father of teen daughter. Add in the extra difficulty of being the school principal and he would have had a tough life. I think he showed that.




jtorrey13 said...

Interesting to see when your reading hits an RDJ movie - and that is the case of the curiously titled "Sherlock Holmes".

Mad Guru said...

My initial idea for this came when I first saw the trailer for the Sherlock Holmes movie. The trailer looked great, it reminded me of how much I like Downey, and I knew there is no possible way I could enjoy the movie as much as I like Sherlock Holmes. From what I have read, your phrase "curiously titled" seems very apropos.

I'm also very leery about watching The Soloist as I thought the book was fantastic. Hollywood needs more original writers. You, for example.