Directed by Jonathan Glatzer
A jaded journalist finds his own story at a small-town high school.
What Goes Up is a “movie to be endured rather than enjoyed,” said Ethan Alter in The Hollywood Reporter. With its “awkward screenplay” and “amateurish direction,” Jonathan Glatzer’s feature debut turns into a “turgid mess.” British comedian Steve Coogan plays a big-city journalist sent to New Hampshire in 1986 to do a story on Christa McAuliffe, the real-life teacher set to ride the doomed Space Shuttle Challenger. Uninterested in the assignment, he hangs out instead with “emotionally troubled, overly hormonal” teenagers (Hilary Duff and Olivia Thirlby). Glatzer keeps shifting from “melodramatic pathos” to indolent satire, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, as if he’s not sure if he wants to make the next Election or American Pie. Still, “there’s some nice filmmaking tucked inside,” and Coogan’s “prickly presence” keeps you entertained. But Coogan and the rest of the respectable cast are worthy of better material, said Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. Self-consciously quirky and terribly unfocused, What Goes Up goes down as the cruddiest of “cruddy little indie” films.