Everyone has that friend who never really grows up. You know, that 30-year-old buddy who looks back at high school like it was the best time of their life. There are plenty of movies that tell that story, but Hulu's Big Time Adolescence takes a little bit of a different approach. The story follows best friends Zeke (Pete Davidson) and Monroe (Griffin Gluck) as they do their best to navigate the complications of high school. Fine for Monroe (aka Mo), he's 16! Zeke, on the other hand, is a lot closer to 30 than he is 13.
The unlikely friendship began while Zeke was dating Mo's older sister, Kate (Emily Arlook), and somehow continued after their inevitable breakup. Mo was 9 at that point. What I'm trying to say here is that these odd-couple buddies managed to go seven years without any ridiculous explosions. The film doesn't touch on that, I just have to acknowledge the absurdity of both the span of time and the fact that Mo's parents were cool with letting their child chill out with this weirdo.
Let's all not try!
Bottom line: It's fine!
- It tells the young screwup story in a fresh way
- Zeke's charisma
- Overall unremarkable
- Average performances
Big Time Adolescence What I liked
The plot of Big Time Adolescence focuses on what happens when their mostly innocent fun starts to go a little sideways. Mo's begged by a high school friend to procure booze for senior party. Despite his questionable friendship decisions, Mo's a pretty good kid. He's reluctant to become the beer guy, but the money's already in his hand before he can protest any further. Cue Mo and Zeke working together to rip off the party with watered-down booze and overpriced pot. Oh, right. Mo's now the weed dude, too.
Note that no one asked for the pot. Zeke just saw it as an opportunity to make an extra buck via his little high school buddy. This is, as you can guess, where things start going awry.
There are two things that set this flick apart from your run-of-the-mill, middle-aged screw-up story. The first is that Zeke himself is incredibly charismatic. He's not a conman, per say. He can't even be bothered to put in the effort to con someone. His sole motivation is having fun. Sometimes he happily takes others along with him on that fun. Unless, of course, someone else's fun means he won't get to have as much. His inherent selfishness becomes more and more clear through his cheating, even if he does have a couple attempts at gallant behavior before the credits role.
The second is the fact that we get to see Mo come to a crossroads that we don't usually see illustrated in these kinds of comedies. Usually we meet the screw up well past the point of no return. We then enjoy their antics for a few hours and then forget our time with them completely. In this case, we see the protagonist face a choice. He can straighten up and fly right, or he can choose to take the same road as his best buddy.
Big Time Adolescence Where it struggles
From start to finish, Big Time Adolescence is fine. There's nothing really remarkable about any of it, but it's not necessarily trying to be, either. Everyone's performances are pretty run of the mill. If anyone shines, it's Jon Cryer as Mo's father. He's got that awkward, suburban dad who just wants to protect his son vibe. It's not his best work, but there's not much for him to do to begin with.
There's nothing offensive about the film, but it's not going to make you laugh out loud at any point, either. Like Zeke, it's just kind of skating by. It does try something a little different by connecting Zeke and Mo's stories, which is commendable! It's also the only thing that pushes it from "meh" to "this is alright" territory.
Big Time Adolescence: Should you watch it?
Overall, this is a movie that most can probably miss and be fine. Then again, maybe it's exactly the kind of thing we need while we're all in quarantine. That might sound a little wishy washy, it's just hard to give a passionate "yes" or "no" on something that is just deeply OK. There's nothing ostensibly wrong with the film, and there's nothing that's going to floor you at any given point. So, really, if you're bored, what's the harm?
Perhaps there's something here for those who went through a Zeke phase, or maybe even those who ran into some heavy consequences in high school and had to choose to straighten up and fly right. For me, it's the type of film that plays best while you're multitasking. There's nothing ostensibly wrong with it, but there's nothing happening that's going to hold your attention for more than a few seconds at a time.
Who wants to go back to high school?
Selling pot to high schoolers, what could go wrong?
If you've got some free time this weekend, why not spend some of it with these unlikely friends and their drug dealing hijinks? It's not like any of us have other plans right now!
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