A could-be-cult item with promising homevid potential, the box office non-starter “Charlie Bartlett” has its fans, but they have little to cheer about on this DVD release. The pic — about a high-schooler dispensing psychological advice and prescription drugs from a bathroom stall — freely raids ideas from other sophisto teen pics such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Rushmore,” without any of the rewatchability of those films. The disc’s extras do little to sweeten the deal.
The two audio commentaries would have benefited from being merged into one, as both are entirely inconsistent affairs. Track one features debut helmer John Poll and first-time screenwriter Gustin Nash, who mostly gush over their collaborators’ great work onscreen. The second track is livelier, but not very informative and, ultimately, bordering on dull. On it, Poll returns and reigns over the mostly chaotic ramblings of youthful stars Anton Yelchin and Kat Dennings.
They seem to be having a blast, but the fun hardly crosses over to the viewer. At one point, an impromptu “Mystery Science Theater 3000”-inspired overdubbing falls embarrassingly flat. Dennings giggles a lot, and Poll repeats much of what was said on the other commentary. Still, it’s refreshing to hear such wide-eyed enthusiasm as when Dennings proudly admits that the movie is “awesome” and, later, “great.” She also takes friendly shots at co-star Robert Downey Jr., who skipped the recording session so he could shoot “Iron Man.” Good move.
Other extras include the mercifully brief “Restroom Confessionals,” which features various members of the cast and crew (not identified onscreen) talking about their problems with an off-screen Charlie.