It's hard to believe that writer-director Chris McCoy's "Good Kids" was on the 2011 Black List of well-liked unproduced screenplays.
This talky, intended comedy about a quartet of over-achieving Massachusetts high school grads who pledge to spend their last few months together tarnishing their squeaky clean reputations at best plays like third-rate Richard Linklater, minus the acclaimed filmmaker's eye for keenly observed characters and ear for realistic dialogue.
Determined to make up for lost time, longtime buddies Andy (Nicholas Braun), Nora (Zoey Deutch), Spice (Israel Broussard) and the Lion (Mateo Arias) commit to a blowout summer of debauchery before starting college.
Of course, their self-styled Rumspringa proves to have its pitfalls, with Andy finding himself with more than he can handle catering to an endless line-up of cougars led by Ashley Judd, and Nora falling for a considerably older Aussie (David Coussins).
But even before the life lessons kick in, there's very little that feels legitimately wild and crazy, let alone authentic, about their antics, purportedly observed from McCoy's own formative years growing up as a permanent resident on Cape Cod.
One could say the mechanical direction leeches the energy out of virtually every sequence, but that would imply there was any there to begin with — and, although the young actors seem likable enough, their characters never credibly come to life.
For all its R-rated misbehavior, "Good Kids" turns out to be as salacious as a zit — and just as irritating.
MPAA rating: R, for sexual content, language, drug and alcohol use-all involving teens
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Vintage Los Feliz 3 Theatre, Los Angeles.