NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

What Goes Up Movie Review: Hilary Duff Girl Power Rules

By     get stories by email

A movie about a journalist who questions the honesty and sincerity of his profession, especially himself, What Goes Up may also be considering inadvertently the questionable moral fiber in moviemaking too. If so, What Goes Up, in its feverish and unfocused search for a seemingly vague ideal of raw truth, crash lands instead, and with minimal dramatic impact.

Writer/director Jonathan Glatzer frames What Goes Up as two parallel stories that don't quite gel. It's the mid-1980s during the Reagan era, as the country is poised for the ill-fated takeoff of the Challenger Space Shuttle, with Concord, New Hampshire teacher and the first civilian astronaut Christa McAuliffe, on board.

Meanwhile, back in New York City, jaded journalist Campbell Babbitt (Steve Coogan) has fallen out of favor with his tyrannical editor. Who declares in no subtle terms, that 'you smell and you're writing is baroque,' as she banishes him to Concord to write a story about their suddenly famous space cadet hometown girl.

Babbitt is at the same time harboring more personal concerns, including a chronic guilt trip about having a secret affair with one of his interview subjects for an article, followed by her suicide. And in a bid to alleviate his current self-loathing, Babbitt has embellished his series of stories about the woman with what may be more diplomaitcally termed, unabashed hyperbole.


When Babbitt reluctantly arrives for his assignment in the dreary boondocks, he tries to locate an old college friend who has also just committed suicide. And Babbitt discovers that his recently departed chum happened to be known locally as 'our almost priest,' and was a favorite teacher if not scandalous guru to a gang of bratty, raging hormone challenged alienated teens.

Among them is Lucy (Hilary Duff), a tempermental student who may have been having a romance with the teacher; Tess (Olivia Thirlby), a brooding girl who has been possibly just knocked up by her lascivious uncle and is in need of an abortion; and Jim (Josh Pack), a somewhat disturbed boy who is inclined to grave robbing, and climbs trees to engage in impulsive auto-erotic voyeurism targeting breastfeeding moms. There's also Penelope (Molly Shannon), a frazzled lonely teacher who may likewise have had an affair with the departed almost priest, and sets her sights on a horrified Babbitt as an automatic romantic replacement.

If this sounds like a movie overstuffed with plot threads that never quite come together, it's more than true. And by the way, in this midst of this deluge of teen angst, Babbitt also grabs a Pulitzer for his aforementioned tainted series, restoring his relationship with that contemptuous editor just before the Challenger crashes somewhere in the movie as a lost and found narrative sidebar.

Hilary Duff and the other young actors should not be faulted here for the lame adults around them, both in the movie and behind the cameras. They excel at projecting the confusion and anguish of students in crisis, and all of them deserve an A. The filmmakers are another matter.

Three Kings Production
Rated R
2 stars

Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prairie Miller talks to Elizabeth Hurley about The Royals, and to Nina Paley, artist, filmmaker, animator, cartoonist and free culture copyright activist.
Created by Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan was first produced as a play in 1904 and adapted into an illustrated novel seven years thereafter. The enchanting fairy tale made its screen debut as a silent movie in 1924, with assorted remakes, seque
Where to Invade Next hops from one topic to another, never lets the audience know what it's about and, after two hours of cinematic navel gazing, it's unlikely they care.
Prairie Miller has a Halloween Visitation. Cult Horror Director Sam Raimi drops in, Death Of A Salesman In Yiddish and classical concert pianist Hannah Reimann
Bond is back, possibly Daniel Craig's last outing. Can SPECTRE step out of the shadow cast by SKYFALL's great acclaim. Read Kingsley's review to find out!
This race hate documentary chronicles neo-Nazi relocation to Leith, a small town in North Dakota, and what the locals did to get rid of the supremacists.


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

What's Hot At
1 .Assad - ISIS Collusion: The Human Monster and His Satanic Band - 34
2 .Dance to The Magic of Your Life's Dream - 23
3 .An Abandoned Luncheonette Inspires a Sequence of Sonnets - 15
4 .Mandatory Military Service Works in Israel - 15
5 .Is This Charity Good or Sleazy? - 14
6 .Religion of Peace Demonstration Hoax Photos - 12
7 .Censorship in America - 10
8 .A Collection of Family Stories and Recipes - 10
9 .The Tale Of Chun Hyang Movie Review: North Korea Unfiltered - 10
10.Where Did The Name Black Friday Come From? - 8
Updated: 14:15 PST     708

NewsBlaze Editors


NewsBlaze Writers

news writer images

Writers Wanted

Help NewsBlaze provide daily news, including Business Top Stories, Technology, The Environment and more. Apply: NewsBlaze Writer

Follow NewsBlaze

NewsBlaze Social Media Logos NewsBlaze Facebook NewsBlaze LinkedIn NewsBlaze Twitter NewsBlaze YouTube NewsBlaze MySpace NewsBlaze Fan Page NewsBlaze StumbleUpon NewsBlaze Political Cartoons NewsBlaze Editorial Cartoons

Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site