There’s always that one guy from your hometown that never quite grew up once he peaked in high school. Despite all of his efforts he remains a tragic figure in the eyes of anyone over the age of 16. But in the eyes of a high school-aged kid, he’s a legend. For sixteen year old Mo (Griffin Gluck), that guy is Pete Davidson—er, I mean, Zeke. Big Time Adolescence is a touching and relatable comedy that shows Pete Davidson’s potential as an actor outside of Saturday Night Live.
Back To High School
When Mo was young, his older sister Kate (Emily Arlook) dated bad boy Zeke. When their parents forced Kate to take her brother on dates with her, Zeke and Mo became close. Fast forward a couple of years and the two are still hanging out despite the fact that Kate and Zeke broke up years ago when Kate left for college. Zeke stayed behind, thinking he was becoming an older brother figure for Mo, who is a now smart teenager with a bright future. That is, if he ever realizes that Zeke is the last thing he needs in his life.
Zeke offers solid advice to Mo for things like landing a girl (not keeping one), experimenting with drugs, and entrepreneurship. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering when it’s all going to go sour, because you know it will, especially once Mo gets a tattoo from none other than Machine Gun Kelly. It’s a funny film with a sort of tragic undertone, similar to how Bridesmaids was for Kristen Wiig, another Saturday Night Live alumni.
Nothing is more relatable than seeing classic high school cliches on screen. Big Time Adolescence is alarmingly familiar in that way. Any viewer can think back to a time in their lives when they knew their own Zeke, and shudder at the thought of what that guy is doing now (a quick Facebook search showed that my version of Zeke is now in prison for organizing a white supremacist gang).
The thing about Pete Davidson is that he never really plays a character that isn’t already some facet of who he really is. This rings true in Zeke, though Davidson is considerably more successful than a character working in a small town burger shack. Davidson has already canonized himself as the type of actor that simply plays parts instead of taking on entirely new roles and personalities. It’s not necessarily a bad thing—look at Jim Carrey for example.
It seems as if Big Time Adolescence fits the bill for a good distribution deal. The film is lighthearted, comedic and relatable enough to touch a wide audience. Davidsons portrayal of a dead-end loser is just tragic enough to be realistic without ruining the films comedic arc. It’s exactly what Pete Davidson needed to finally separate his name from being associated with his ex, Ariana Grande.