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May 27, 2009

What Goes Up

What-goes-up-poster In the current rut of similarly titled films with aspirations of altitude ("Up," "Away We Go"), "What Goes Up" is an especially loathsome case of entropy. Mercifully, co-writer/director Jonathan Glatzer makes his pretentious heart-on-sleeve aspirations known early on when Steve Coogan's whiny New York newspaper journalist Campbell Babbitt rolls into 1986 small-town New Hampshire to write a human interest story about local school-teacher-turned-astronaut-heroine Christa McAuliffe. Campbell's lack of interest in doing any actual journalism is reinforced when he meets up with a group of high school students favored by Campbell's recently deceased former college roommate, who may have committed suicide over an affair with one of his students. Under a false pretense of doing a story about this gang of pre-adult misfits, Campbell falls under the Lolita charms of Hilary Duff's oversexed Lucy, and the story digresses into a hodgepodge of irresponsible behavior. Intended as "meditation" on our trumped-up need to recognize "heroes," and about the finality of death, "What Goes Up" refuses to address the fate of the Challenger Spacecraft even though it's presented as the film's climax. This is what happens when filmmakers set out to craft a "meditation" on anything.  
Rated R. 107 mins. (D) (Zero Stars)

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