Taking place in 1994, New York City, we meet Dr. Squires (Ben Kingsley) and his teenage patient, and pot dealer, Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck). The two have a deal that Luke pays for his therapy in grams of weed, and it works out pretty well between them.
Getting to know Luke, we learn that he actually deals his pot in order to support his family, which is otherwise falling apart. He eventually meets Steph (Olivia Thirlby), a lovely, free spirtited girl who, of course, he falls for hard. It also turns out, however, that she's Dr. Squires' daughter.. I guess that's a bit of a twist, but you find out so early on it's not much of a spoiler, and the rest of the movie is pretty much based around it.
As for Dr Squires, he's kinda stuck in some sort of mid-life crisis, having lots of trouble at home with his wife (Famke Janssen), who seems to be ignoring his existence lately. His first turning point is smoking weed, but things do go a bit further. It's strange, though. At times, you feel for him, and can be empathetic, but at other times, you see him as a total creepy sleaze. If nothing else, it's just a hell of a performance. You laugh about as much as you cringe with this guy, but bottom line, it's a great performance. It's a situation where the supporting actor outshines the lead actor. For me, Luke was a little less likable, and sometimes even felt kinda awkward.
For me, the chemistry that Dr. Squires and Luke have together sort of shines through. It's interesting to see a, for lack of a better word, "crooked" therapist and his friendship with his drug dealer, who is also his patient. It's not quite a father - son deal, but more of a fun uncle - nephew deal. Of course, taking into account that Steph is Squires' daughter, that might not be the best analogy.
Otherwise, this movie does have plenty of elements that meet my criteria for what I consider "good". For one, there's plenty of creative transitions, and at times it can get a bit artsy. Secondly, the soundtrack is pretty awesome if you feel like hip hop but want something nostalgic, which was largely my taste in music back then. Lastly, it makes the lead characters very three-dimensional, giving us some leeway to care about what happens to them in the end. Add to that a decent sense of humor; I can't deny a few genuine laughs, mostly from Kingsley.
One thing I could compare it to in style is something like '50/50', where it's pretty dark, but carries the humor through it. And that particular comparison involves the same director. Other titles under his belt are 'The Night Before' and 'Warm Bodies', so be prepared for somewhat similar style. But this is definitely one of the darker ones on his list. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, and could see revisiting it in the futre.