Feature

Adult World

An aspiring poet hounds her literary idol.

Directed by Scott Coffey
(R)

**

John Cusack gets his “best role in years” in this minor comedy, said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. Proving again that he deserves better than oddball supporting roles, the onetime teen-comedy king finds the wistful soul in a caustic university poetry instructor who’s fending off the attentions of a 22-year-old striver who wants to be his protégée. Neither character is fully likable, but “it’s the peculiar, tense relationship between the two” that makes the film rewarding. As a self-appointed rising genius, Emma Roberts proves she can “play annoying to the hilt,” said Christine N. Ziemba in PasteMagazine.com. Though we never like Roberts’s needy naïf, we eventually at least take pity on her. That’s not enough to elevate the film above such weaknesses as a half-baked subplot about Roberts’s low-paying job in an adult entertainment store, said Ella Taylor in NPR.org. But filmmaker Scott Coffey at least shows real affection for deluded dreamers. His “amiable, occasionally sharp-eyed movie” might help a lot of art house viewers understand that, however lofty their ambitions, “not everyone has what it takes.”

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