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Why Reviews for ‘The Wackness’ Might Be Mad Wack, Yo

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics


The Wackness seems to have everything going for it. It was Sony Pictures Classics' big Sundance acquisition this year, and comes into Tribeca riding a wave of buzz. It co-stars your new indie crush Olivia Thirlby. It's opening this summer in a savvy counter-programming move. So why are we going to go out on a limb and predict a lot of dismissive, negative reviews for the 1994-set coming-of-age movie? Because of its press notes.

Specifically, the "Slang Dictionary" that sits in the middle of the film's press packet, a rich target of mockery that offers straight-faced definitions of such arcane terms as "blunt," "peace out," and "breasteses" ("Noun. Plural form of breast").

It reads like the result of some late-night publicity brainstorming session that should've been nipped in the cold light of morning. It is guaranteed to make reviewers more inclined to hate the movie; The Wackness already runs the risk of feeling overly mannered, what with lines like "I got mad love for you, homegirl," and many reviewers are going to have their poseur-o-meters set off when they read a definition for "ganja."

Our Riedelesque prediction: If Sony Pictures Classics ditches the "Slang Dictionary," their Rotten Tomatoes score will improve by 15 percent. If not, we think they might be illin'. ("Verb, variant of ill. Doing things that can get you in trouble, i.e. vandalism, doing drugs, etc.")