“Spectacular Now” is Affecting Drama

the-spectacular-now-2013-02James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now (B+) reminded me of the ’80s fave Lucas with a similar melancholy I found so affecting in Perks of Being a Wallflower, and lead actor Miles Teller as the effortless charmer harboring an alcohol addiction channels a sort of Say Anything era John Cusack, if he were on an endless bender while winning love with jambox held aloft. The theme is about intoxication, to alcohol and to first love: Shailene Woodley is devastating as the naive good girl heroine, filling her first boyfriend’s flask for him as he drunkenly drives her to a date he’s just dreamed up. It’s eerie how much this could have just been called the Lea Michele/Corey Monteith story. The take-away, that life and relationships are more enduring than the episodes between blackouts, rises above the potential afterschool special pitfalls.