Rushmore

on December 11, 1998 by Kevin Courrier
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   Wes Anderson's first film, "Bottle Rocket," made in 1996, was an amateurish yet charming look at a group of aspiring criminals trying to pull off a heist. The unpolished quality didn't work against the movie because the characters seemed as neophyte (and ambitious) as the director. But in "Rushmore," the charm is a little too forced, the story barely believable, and its allure overly-calculated.
   Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is a student at Rushmore Academy, a prestigious school for the privileged. Although he loves going there--and running every extra-curricular activity in the place-his marks are horrible. When he falls in love with a young first grade teacher (Olivia Williams), he becomes so obnoxiously ingratiating that he gets thrown out. When he seeks advice from his mentor (Bill Murray), Max is betrayed by the affair his mentor starts up with the teacher.
   "Rushmore," like "Bottle Rocket," is about dreamers, but Jason Schwartzman isn't dreamy; he's monotone and morose. We don't believe that this kid is dynamic enough to be writing numerous hit plays for the school, playing chess, and learning French and German on the side. The writing is smart-ass funny, resulting in characters that are merely tools of the writer and director rather than believable people. Murray, though, does have a couple of sly moments; Seymour Cassel is also sweet as Max's barber father; and Olivia Williams has a lovely sadness about her. But one wonders why anyone would tolerate Max. Starring Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams, Brian Cox and Seymour Cassel. Directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Produced by Barry Mendel and Paul Schiff. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. Rated R for language and brief nudity. Running time: 93 min
Tags: Starring Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams, Brian Cox and Seymour Cassel. Directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson, Produced by Barry Mendel, Paul Schiff, Buena Vista, Comedy
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