Charlie Bartlett couldnt 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 Ledgers 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 mothers (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 dont 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.