'Charlie Bartlett' a typical teen movie

EDITOR'S NOTE - Film Fans runs in the Friday Weekend section of the Gwinnett Daily Post. It features local residents reviewing the film of the week: "Charlie Bartlett." Want to be a Film Fan? E-mail features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 stars out of 4

A teen movie with bite that proved to be worthy and entertaining with some great performances as well. The movie never leaves you looking for the exit but carries the load to the credits, which is about the most you can hope for these days. Here, you have an enterprising student who, before the film is over, has intertwined so many lives you need a scoreboard, but the movie plays well.

Charlie Bartlett is a good-looking but troubled preppy who, after being kicked out of a number of private schools due to his enterprising ways, lands in the middle of reality in a public school. Once inside his new school, he grows up to face life in a new and honest way.

He helps others do the same, including the principal, played remarkably by Robert Downey Jr. Charlie learns that everyone has problems, but believing in yourself can be the start to dealing with issues that may not be as bad as you think. He also comes to realize the importance of family and friends. There is a nice message in this movie, and it deserves an audience, especially any teen who thinks life is not good. It's worth the dough.

- Rick Wright, Auburn

2 stars out of 4

"Charlie Bartlett" is supposed to be a lighthearted film about teen angst. While there are several amusing and ironic scenes, it tries too hard during the somber plot lines. Reminiscent of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Anton Yelchin plays the leading role with humming ease. One of the most endearing performances is given by Hope Davis as Bartlett's mother. Tyler Hilton plays the unfortunate, clichéd part of the school bully with enough grief to make his lines forgivable, and Kat Dennings lends a charming sweetness throughout the film. There is not enough charm, however, to completely combat the mid-movie tedium and overall mediocrity.

- Jackie Hamilton, Duluth

2 1/2 stars out of 4

"Charlie Bartlett" is a typical coming-of-age teen movie you have seen several times before. It doesn't hit the comedy edge you find in most of these films, which makes it feel slow at times. The character development was interesting. You feel for the various struggles teenagers face in high school, and Charlie being a student psychiatrist is a novel way to explore these difficulties. Anton Yelchin does well as the title character, and Robert Downey Jr. shines as the father/principal. The film seems longer than it is and would best be seen as a rental.

- Seán Ahern, Buford