Movie review: ‘Thumbsucker’ developmentally delayed
December 3, 2005
The first obstacle to really getting into “Thumbsucker” was Keanu Reeves. Though I’m sure some people found his hippie-new-age-animal-spirit loving character funny in a dry humor sort of way, I couldn’t help but think, “Go back to ‘The Matrix'” every time he tried to act profoundly.The second obstacle involved the pace of the movie: slow.The third had to do with the fact that I just couldn’t buy that these kids were supposed to be 17. They seemed more like 13.In the end, I left feeling like the storyline simply hadn’t matured enough before producers released it into the world.
That’s not to say “Thumbsucker” is a bad movie. I know plenty of people who raved about it. I’m just not one of them.Justin Cobb (Lou Taylor Pucci) lives with a mother (Tilda Swinton) who has a crush on a Hollywood cocaine addict and inappropriately brings her son into a dressing room to tell her if she looks hot in new dresses. His father (Vincent D’Onofrio) insists his children forego titles of “mom” and “dad,” because it makes them feel younger when kids call them by their first names.Justin’s biggest problem is that he still sucks his thumb to deal with anxiety and other feelings. He’s also shy. Enter Ritalin into the plot, making “Thumbsucker” the antithesis of “Garden State.”What happens to Justin from there is interesting, though I wouldn’t call it compelling. We see him struggle with his parents, we see him deal with girls, we see him succeed, we see him fail and we see him smoke pot.
Somewhere along the line, he works through some of his problems, but the missing pieces disappointed me. I know teenagers can turn on a dime, but Justin’s transformations from one lifestyle experiment to another were fairly dramatic – without much explanation.Pucci does an excellent job bringing Justin to life, as do Swinton and D’Onofrio. In that sense, the movie’s a joy to watch. But overall, it seemed developmentally delayed.’Thumbsucker’
When: 7:30 p.m. today through ThursdayWhere: Speakeasy Movie Theatre, BreckenridgeRating: R for drug and alcohol use and sexuality involving teens, language and a disturbing image.She says: 3/12 stars (out of five)