Charlie Bartlett

Rated 2.0

When a rich kid (Anton Yelchin) is kicked out of his tony private school (having been caught counterfeiting IDs in his dorm room), he seeks popularity at his new public school by peddling prescription meds and glib psychobabble to his fellow students—which incites the suspicion of his burnt-out principal (Robert Downey Jr.) and piques the interest of the principal’s daughter (Kat Dennings). Director Jon Poll and writer Gustin Nash try for the antic, anarchic spirit of iconic teen movies like Heathers or Dazed and Confused, but the taste is sour and brackish—all the fawning and sucking-up to bored and disgruntled teenagers (and all the phony, feel-good fadeouts) that Hollywood hacks can muster can’t make Charlie anything but a sleazy, pill-pushing sociopath. Hope Davis plays his feckless mother.