“Charlie Bartlett” – Joanna Langfield reviews

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Charlie Bartlett couldn’t have come along at a better time. The often postponed release of this infectious little charmer proves the old saying “things happen for a reason”. Because at the heart of this gem of a comedy is a morality tale about a desperate to be liked high schooler who makes his mark by supplying classmates with prescription drugs. Not only does the film make valuable points about the abuse of so called “legal” drugs, but, in light of Heath Ledger’s untimely death and the baseball scandals, good old Charlie takes on, dare I say, an importance that is both pungent and timely.

Anton Yelchin gives a lithe leading performance as the misguided teen; his buoyancy is in perfect counterpoint to his mother’s (Hope Davis) vapidity, which we get to understand later on in the story. But the performance that knocked me out is Robert Downey, Jr.’s, who brings an even more than his usual poignancy to his principal with baggage role.

I don’t want to oversell this movie. The marketers would much prefer to hype it as a goofy good time. But I cannot shake the underlying seriousness of this sly entertainment: all of us, no matter how old, rich, or accomplished we are, are still at some level, are still coming “of age” ourselves.

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).