March 16, 2020

SCREEN | Pete Davidson Charms 'Big Time Adolescence'

"We don't cry in this house. We do drugs in this house."
Colson Baker Jordan Rock Jason Orley | Big Time Adolescence on Hulu
LD Entertainment / American High
Infamous Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson brings an abundance of low-key charm to the small-time fun of his slacker loser character Zeke in Big Time Adolescence. Essentially the cool guy stoner from high school who never really grew up, Davidson forms a sweet brotherly bond to his ex-girlfriend's sixteen-year-old little brother, the likeable Griffin Gluck as Mo, for good and (mostly) ill.

First-time feature filmmaker Jason Orley frames the appealing coming-of-age teen hangout comedy with an entertaining lackadaisical vibe of adolescent malaise peppered with some fairly realistic drug/alcohol use and sexual interactions.

It hits all the usual high and low story beats or steps of any on-screen relationship with a familiar grace and amusement. Davidson and Gluck have a great natural chemistry together that makes some sense to the otherwise mismatched pairing.

Orley populates the film with a winning supporting cast from Emily Arlook to Jon Cryer and Sydney Sweeney as Mo's sister, father, and Zeke's live-in girlfriend. It's interesting to parallel Mo's relationships with everyone else in his life compared to the fun but clearly toxic energy he has with Zeke.

Big Time Adolescence feels right. There's an authentic sheen to its formulaic teen movie DNA. Davidson is captivating in his earnest portrayal of a character-type not unlike a much less successful version on his real-life personality while Gluck proves himself a fine lead anchor of the film. It certainly a lot of big-time energy.

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