There's always that under-rated film hiding on one of the shelves in your local movie rental store. And there's always that random time that you feel like picking one up and learning more about it.
For me, this was Charlie Bartlett, a seriously under-rated film I picked up over the weekend.
Released in 2008, Charlie Bartlett is a comedy about a wealthy teenager, Charlie, who has trouble fitting in his new public high school. Run by the under-appreciated principal, Nathan Gardner (played by Robert Downey Jr.), Charlie studies the different cliques and personalities in his high school, and soon becomes the unofficial psychiatrist for the students. The boys' washroom serves as Charlie's office, as students wait their turn before going in to have private sessions where they disclose their worries, fantasies, and stress to Charlie.
Charlie, who has his own psychiatrist, pretends to exhibit the symptoms of his school mates to his doctor in order to get the proper prescriptions students need. At the end of Charlie's sessions with fellow students, he gives them medication they need as given to Charlie by his own doctor.
Later on, Charlie develops romantic feelings for the principal's high-strung daughter, Susan (Kat Dennings) and learns to accept that he's only a teenager himself.
Most of the school scenes were shot in Toronto, Ontario and Charlie's estate was filmed in Oshawa, Ontario, the same location as Billy Madison's home.
When Charlie Bartlett was released in theatres, it only garnered $12 million at the box office, and brought $5.1 million worldwide.
Roger Ebert claimed Charlie Bartlett contained the right ingredients of classic teenage comedies, "Almost everything in Charlie Bartlett is based on successful teen comedy formulas of the 70s, 80s, and 90s like Footloose, The Breakfast Club, and Say Anything. Like many of John Hughes' high school movies, it presents a fantasy of tolerance and camaraderie about kids from different social circles coming together to fight adult authoritarianism."
Anton Yelchin as Charlie Bartlett
Robert Downey Jr. as Principal Nathan Gardner
Hope Davis as Marilyn Bartlett
Kat Dennings as Susan Gardner
Tyler Hilton as Murphey Bivens
Mark Rendall as Kip Crombwell
Dylan Taylor as Len Arbuckle
Megan Park as Whitney Drummond
Jake Epstein as Dustin Lauderbach
Jonathan Malen as Jordan Sunder
Derek McGrath as Superintendent Sedgwick
Stephen Young as Dr. Stan Weathers
Ishan Dave as Henry Freemont
David Brown as Officer Hansen
Lauren Collins as Kelly
Aubrey Graham as A/V Jones