Charlie Bartlett

First come.  First cured.

*RATED R**RATED R*

For years, I’ve seen the trailer for this on one of my favorite DVDs and I’ve wanted to see it ever since.  I finally moved it to the top of my Netflix list while I was still home for the summer.

I didn’t know much about the movie outside of that single trailer, actually.  I don’t think this movie made much of a splash while it was in theatres.

Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) is a friendly kid with a bit of an issue: he wants to be popular and will go to all kinds of extremes to achieve it.  After he’s kicked out of his last private school, Charlie tries public school and finds he still doesn’t fit in.  He’s bullied, but he turns that bully into a business partner when he becomes a sort of school psychiatrist.  These kids need someone who listens and gives them advice…and a few medications now and then.  Charlie meets the charming Susan (Kat Dennings) and begins to fall for her.  The only drawback is that she’s the principal’s daughter.  How much can Charlie get away with before the principal begins to draw the line, whether it’s professionally or personally?

I actually really liked it.  It speaks a truth.  Charlie does what he does to be popular, but he also realizes he’s helping these kids just by giving them someone to talk to, someone they know is listening.  That’s all anyone really wants.

It also tackles some really hard subjects, like suicide and having a parent skip out.  Susan and Charlie make a great duo because of their similarities.  I loved seeing them together.

Best part about this movie was that it’s a comedy.  It just tackled some harder things, too.  There are plenty of cute/funny scenes that break the tension.  Charlie…he was just Charlie.  Maybe a bit like Charlie Sheen in some scenes, but he was still completely lovable.

Added bonus?  Robert Downey Jr. does an excellent job playing Principal Gardner.  I figured he’d be funny, but he’s actually pretty scary-crazy.  I liked his character, regardless.  He was a good guy.

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