Rocket Science Review
By David Kempler
Demeaning the term rocket science
There's a thin line between intelligent filmmaking and falling off the cliff by pounding into the audience's head the message, "Look how intelligent this movie is. Isn't it awesome!" I'm sure you can guess which side of the coin my opinion of "Rocket Science" is. Jeffrey Blitz writes and directs this pompous endeavor. After I saw it, having no idea who wrote and directed, I assumed this had to be a one man (or woman) show. Mr. Blitz' biggest credit to date was directing "Spellbound", the entertaining documentary that followed a bunch of teenagers in a spelling bee. This is his first attempt at writing. He should stick to directing.
"Rocket Science" is along the same vein as "Rushmore" or "Election", neither of which is a personal favorite but each of them has some redeeming value. Here we have a far less entertaining version of this type of a movie. Characters exist merely to scream how quirky and odd they are with no substance behind it.
Hal Hefner (Reece Daniel Thompson) is in high school and he has a stuttering problem. He also has a kleptomaniac, borderline nut job brother, Earl (Vincent Piazza), and a father who walks out on his mother as the story begins. Into his life walks an incredibly smarmy young girl from school, Ginny Ryerson (Anna Kendrick), an overachieving member of the debate team who believes that debate is life.
I confess to knowing nothing about debating at the high school level but if it is as presented here it is a waste of everyone's time. Presumably it is not as presented. All of the debaters speak in rapid fire pitter patter like the speed talkers you sometimes see in annoying commercials where they try and hide the facts from the audience. Ginny speaks this way all of the time. Hal is incredibly attracted to this behavior in Ginny for some idiotic reason. His quest is to win her. Her quest is to use him for her own evil needs.
All of the other characters are also caricatures of annoying and shallow people. This is a comedy or at least that is how it is being promoted. Aside for one very funny scene involving an airborne cello, "Rocket Science" is without even a snicker. If you are going to create something like this it either has to be hysterically funny, poignant or deep. Zero for 3. Strikeout. Rocket Science this ain't.