HairBrained – Movie Review

Category: Movies

Hair Brained KA-2This whacky offbeat movie has some interesting qualities. HairBrained is the story of a 14-year-old genius named Eli Pettifog (Alex Wolff), with out-of-control hair and a chip on his shoulder.


Eli’s mom (Parker Posey) is not mother material. She just drops him off at the bus station instead of taking this young boy to college.  Yes he’s smart, but he’s also only 14-years-old. Eli is a brainiac, and a loner. But when he gets to Whittman College, the place where Ivy League rejects go, he meets Leo Searly (Brendan Fraser), a 41-year-old freshman. These two are opposites yet very similar. They’re both freshmen and a little offbeat. Leo takes Eli under his wing. This middle-age man has dropped out of life to start anew and although he is ready for some fun times, Leo is mature enough to help Eli through the maze of college life.


Eli is frustrated because all his life he wanted to go to Harvard, but for some unknown reason he was rejected from his dream college. When the Harvard team visits Whittman for the Collegiate Mastermind Competition (like Jeopardy without the money), Eli roots for Harvard. Then, after the competition, Eli gets a rude awakening by the Harvard students. It is there and then when he decides to exact revenge over Harvard. He joins the Whittman Collegiate Mastermind team and they start winning. His goal is the finals where he will be able to annihilate the Harvard team and show them what they missed by denying him admittance.


While Eli is getting into the college life, albeit rather strangely, he meets a local girl with whom he forms a romantic relationship. It’s the first for each of them and they try to figure it out one step at a time. In the meantime Leo is the big man on campus, and the duo forges their way through the semester, each learning a little more about life than anything, and each coming into their own. You could say this is a coming-of-age movie for the 14-year-old and the 41-year-old.


While there are not many laugh-out-loud moments, the sensitivity in the film is its strength. HairBrained is definitely an offbeat movie and is not a film that will appeal to everyone, however it is getting good reviews. Alex Wolff plays his character with a dry moroseness, which lends itself to the fact that this kid has had a difficult life.


HairBrained is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, nudity, teen smoking and drinking, and drug reference.



About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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