The Spectacular Now

Rated 5.0

A hard-drinking high-school party boy (Miles Teller), recently dumped by his girlfriend (Brie Larson), strikes up a friendship, then a tentative romance, with a classmate (Shailene Woodley). He barely knows her, but she knows him well—by reputation. Will she pull him up to her level, or will he drag her down to his? Just when you're tired of teen rom-coms, along comes one like this to redeem the whole debased genre. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (from Tim Tharp's novel) and directed by James Ponsoldt, this is the most charming such movie since Cameron Crowe's Say Anything, which was released 24 years ago. (Not surprisingly, Neustadter and Weber also wrote the equally charming (500) Days of Summer.) Teller and Woodley have great chemistry, and they rightly shared a special acting award at the Sundance Film Festival.