Welcome back for another installment from Brady Riann, Moviefone's teenage correspondent. You'll get reviews and insights into the world of film -- from a teenage perspective.
"Hairbrained" is an indie movie that many of you might not see. But if you've got college admission anxiety on the brain, I think you need to seriously consider going out of your way to do so (or at least rent it).
The Story: Eli Pettigfrog is an oddly compelling protagonist, a prodigious kid with an eye-catching hairdo that is faced with attending the college of his nightmares, after the college of his dreams -- Harvard -- rejects him and continues to fuel his fantasies of greatness. While stuck attending a typical liberal arts school, Eli meets a (much) older student named Leo (played by Brendan Fraser) who introduces him to drinking, girls, and overall bad behavior... oh, and he also joins a quiz team that will change his life forever. Eli makes friends and Eli makes enemies. And he draws odd attraction from a girl who is much older than him -- but that's just some of the wild ride that is "Hairbrained".
What I Liked:
Alex Wolff (you may remember him from Nickelodeon's "Naked Brothers Band") as Eli Pettifog was hysterical! He has impressive chemistry with Brendan Fraser, especially when times get tough.
The supporting cast adds to the hilarity of the film. Generally in movies like this, I find the supporting cast can distractingly take away from the rest of the movie, but "Hairbrained" felt surprisingly well balanced, and I was really impressed with the cast as a whole.
SPOILER ALERT: As these movies usually play out, Eli's quiz team finally takes on his dream school, Harvard. It may seem predictable, but the writing by Sarah Bird and Billy Kent is really tight and kept me interested as the plot unfolded. The comedic elements in the film don't feel forced at all -- and I laughed so hard at the climactic quiz game.
What I disliked:
I loved the writing, but it can feel a bit cliche at times, especially during a big speech in one of the ending scenes. Generally when those happen in a movie, it seems like a lazy way to end the movie quickly.
When the comedy doesn't work, it fails badly. Sometimes in a "Wow, that wasn't very funny" way or a "Wow, that was really messed up" way; it felt like they were really trying too hard to get a laugh sometimes.
Also, the music can be really bombastic and loud (and a bit annoying). The Newton Brothers mentored under Hans Zimmer, who is one of the greatest film composers of all time. His scores are sometimes bombastic, but only when they need to be. This just feels like noise at times.
Final Verdict: "Hairbrained" is a film that is well worth your time. It has comedy, drama, and one helluva heart. Brendan Fraser and Alex Wolff give amazing performances, they both make the film feel real and extremely heartwarming. Great cast, great writing and directing by Billy Kent, and just a really fun ride. I would give Hairbrained a solid B+.
What did you think of the film? Like it, hate it, leave me a comment!