[Originally scheduled for a theatrical exclusive release this week, “Big Time Adolescence” is now also streaming on Hulu.]
Up to now, “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson has been more famous for his romantic woes and prodigious pot smoking than for anything he’s done in showbiz. But that should start to change with “Big Time Adolescence,” a high-school comedy featuring a dynamic Davidson performance.
Griffin Gluck stars as Mo Harris, an ordinary suburban 16-year-old who’s been pals since elementary school with his older sister’s hard-partying ex-boyfriend Zeke (Davidson). Mo has a tense relationship with his helicopter parents — especially his dad, played by Jon Cryer — and he has a crush on a cool girl named Sophie (Oona Laurence).
Mo also has Zeke, the kind of best bud who gets him drunk, tells him dirty jokes and dares him to do stupid things, like sell drugs to the upperclassmen to boost his popularity.
Writer-director Jason Orley sticks to the tried-and-true. This is a conventional, dude-centric cautionary tale about a boy who risks everything because of peer pressure. Frankly, the film feels like it’s missing a narrative beat or two … not to mention a proper ending.
But it is funny and fast paced, with an outstanding cast, and Orley modulates the tone well, conveying both the fun and the danger of being young, impulsive and poorly supervised.
Mostly, the movie is memorable because of Davidson, who with his impish smirk, buggy eyes and short-sighted YOLO philosophy brings a rakish charm to the role of the sketchy high school friend so many people — if they’re lucky — eventually outgrow.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Playing: Starts March 13, ArcLight Hollywood; ArcLight Santa Monica; ArcLight Pasadena; also streaming on Hulu