By Bob Gibbons
This movie will touch you, it will tickle you, it will make you smile and nod in knowing recognition because this is a movie that remembers what it was like to be fourteen years old and to sit in the way way back of your parents' station wagon because you wanted to be alone, because you had nothing to say to anyone else, because they couldn’t begin to understand what you were going through. And it’s about finding someone who changes all of that.
This is a movie that knows exactly where it’s going – into a young boy’s mind and heart as he struggles with his identity – and it goes there with a mix of comedy and drama that’s magical. It tells you only as much as you need to know and lets you fill in the rest. It leads you only as far as you need to go and lets you discover the rest of the way. Writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (they wrote The Descendants) have assembled a large and talented cast and written a unique character for each one to play. The dialog is terrific, but the most emotional moments – and there are several – play almost in silence.
So, this is a movie about the value of finding a mentor and the joy of finding a friend; the fear of finding the truth and the satisfaction of finding yourself. It’s about people who refuse to grow up, and those who are wondering if they will. And, it’s about as satisfying and as entertaining as a movie gets.