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What Goes Up Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 0

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    This is rock bottom: I've seen a lot of terrible movies in the line of duty, but What Goes Up might be the only genuinely unreleasable one.

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  • 0

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Nothing in this movie is properly focused; everyone keeps talking about a character whom we never meet and does not matter; the tone keeps slipping around from indolent satire to thudding sincerity, and the Challenger shuttle disaster backdrop is queasy-making at best, offensive at worst.

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  • 10

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times

    Glatzer aims to wring laughter out of this desperation but succeeds only in producing a series of contrived characters and situations that make "The Breakfast Club" look like an unfiltered documentary.

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  • 10

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    A turgid mess of a film that has a lot of ideas on its mind, none of which prove very interesting or in fact coherent.

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  • 20

    out of 100

    Variety Brian Lowry

    A pointless and pretentious drama.

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  • 30

    out of 100

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    Even when Mr. Coogan can't make his scenes work, his prickly presence keeps you watching, as does the eerie scenes of winter that Mr. Glatzer captures with the camera.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

High school drama tale is too edgy for young teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film delves into mature subject mature, including sexuality, death (suicide, for one), abortion, and teenage and middle-age ennui. Most of the teenage characters, and many of the adults, too, are pushing their boundaries and defining themselves, sometimes in ways that seem destructive. One girl appears to flaunt her sexuality, especially at older males. There’s also a fair amount of swearing. By way of foreshadowing, astronaut Christa McAuliffe's death during a failed 1986 takeoff looms over the storyline.

  • Families can talk about the teacher-student dynamics portrayed here. How realistic is it? How challenging must it be to teach teens who are trying to forge their own identities?
  • What does Babbitt have in common with the students he's trying to profile?
  • How difficult is it as a journalist to cultivate a source's trust but still maintain distance?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: So many of us want to be heroes, but heroism doesn’t come easy. Also: Two people who may, on the surface, seem like polar opposites can find common ground.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Everyone in the film is saddled with issues galore: the girl who capitalizes on her looks; the teen who revels in his moody milieu; the teacher who’s running away from his own demons. Almost all, however, find a way to conquer them, or close.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A character is revealed to have been sexually abused by an uncle. (Later, she appears to need an abortion.) Some yelling and shoving.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Teen girls flirt with older men; a high school boy masturbates as he watches a neighbor nurse her child; couples kiss.

  • language false3

    Language: “Damn,” s--t” and “f--k” are all fair game.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Signage/labels such as the Mister Softee truck and National Geographic are visible.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some teen drinking, drug use.