This high school dramedy made by a middle-aged man whose father is a movie producer is a first feature for its director, and its grasp on reality couldn’t be any less firm if its hands were made of Crisco. Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin, “Alpha Dog”) is a rich kid attending a public high school for the first time. The school, of course, looks like a cross between a daycare facility at 3 p.m. and a prison for the criminally insane.
The new kid decides to make friends by selling prescription drugs. Forget the name “Heath Ledger” and this may strike you as funny. He begins dating the principal’s daughter (Kat Dennings, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”). High jinks ensue.
The dialogue never hits the high-water mark of “Juno,” the characters all carry too much baggage to be likable, and the director keeps flashing back to a 1971 cult movie called “Harold and Maude,” which I’ve always hated. Even theft from “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” a 1979 cult movie I’ve always loved, doesn’t make up for it. R