Hair Brained

"Excellent"

Hair Brained Review


Gentle and very smart, this low-key comedy gets under the skin as it follows a smart young kid into the adult world. Without quite becoming either a frat-house comedy or coming-of-age odyssey, the film knowingly avoids cliches while telling a hugely engaging story with so much charm that it's virtually impossible to stop smiling.

The kid is 13-year-old frizzy-haired genius Eli (Wolff), who longs to attend Harvard but is instead stuck with 27-best choice Whittman College. His first friend there is the oldest freshman, 30-something Leo (Fraser), who is trying to reinvent himself and introduces Eli to the campus' party lifestyle. Then after a run-in with three Harvard snobs, Eli decides to teach his desired university a lesson: he joins Whittman's Mastermind team (alongside Bergman, Lee and de Jesus) and swiftly starts turning their losing streak around as they climb through the ranks and head to a showdown with Harvard at the national finals.

While the competition plot follows a fairly standard trajectory, writer Wierzbianski and director Kent refuse to indulge in trite formulaic melodramatics. Even the way Eli falls for a teen (Garner) from the local town feels fresh and unexpected. And while the humour is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, the smiles are earned because they are grounded in the characters rather than cheap jokes. It also helps that each character is a vivid bundle of complex energy and emotion, nicely played by an up-for-it cast.

By twisting our expectations with intelligent touches, the filmmakers manage to skewer college movie cliches. And they keep the tone personal, which lets us experience everything along with Eli and adds a surprising emotional kick. Leo's journey is also unusually provocative, nicely played by Fraser as Leo balances grown-up responsibilities with a desire to be a kid again. Throw in comedy veterans like Posey (as Eli's useless mom) and Pendleton (as a shady recruiter), and this becomes one of those American indie films that continually surprises us even as it carries us along to a shamelessly feel-good finale.



Hair Brained

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 30 mins

Production compaines: Love Lane Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Billy Kent

Producer: Billy Kent, Sarah Bird,

Starring: as Leo Searly, as Eli Pettifog, as Shauna, Michael Oberholtzer as Laird, as Gertrude, as Alan, as Romero, Elisabeth Hower as Eve, Josefina Scaglione as Camilla, as Bennie, as Dapper Man

Also starring: ,

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