What Goes Up (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

What Goes Up2009

What Goes Up (2009)



Critic Consensus: What Goes Up squanders the charisma of Steve Coogan with a lazy screenplay, contrived plotting, and overall poor production.

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Movie Info

A period comedy set in the 1980s, Jonathan Glatzer's What Goes Up tells the poignant story of a morally challenged New York reporter who connects with a group of high school outcasts while in New Hampshire covering the story of Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian astronaut. Arriving in McAullife's hometown, reporter Campbell Babbitt (Steve Coogan) is distraught to learn that an old college friend has recently committed suicide. Meanwhile, as Babbitt attempts to craft an unsung hero story about his old friend by gravitating toward the teacher's misfit students, local teacher (Molly Shannon) scrambles to cover up a looming scandal. When Babbitt discovers that the motley crew of teens is comprised of a self-absorbed seductress (Hilary Duff), a timid voyeur (Josh Peck), and a manipulative pregnant teen (Olivia Thirlby), he becomes obsessed with our need to create heroes where none exist. Over time, the roles are reversed and Babbitt learns that the traits he is currently projecting onto his fallen friend's students may in fact be traits possessed by he and other adults. Increasingly at ease around the students as he relates to them on their own terms, Babbitt gradually begins to form a fixation on the very student rumored to have had an affair with his deceased friend.

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Steve Coogan
as Campbell Babbitt
Molly Shannon
as Penelope
Max Hoffman
as Fenster
Brenna O'Brien
as Diminutive Girl
Gabrielle Rose
as Mrs. Bridigan
Patrick Gilmore
as Hank Pelzman
Andrew Wheeler
as Principal Person
Kendra Sue Waldman
as Dusty Drake
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News & Interviews for What Goes Up

Critic Reviews for What Goes Up

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (17)

About as cruddy as a cruddy little indie can get, especially given a cast that should've known better.

June 5, 2009 | Rating: 0/4

The whole thing feels like a premeditated attempt at a Sundance sensation, a mix of cast members (and ideas) from Juno and Hamlet 2 spiced up with the now obligatory '80s references.

June 5, 2009 | Rating: 1.5/4

Director and co-writer Jonathan Glatzer handles his talented cast well, and the movie is dark, droll and sentimental in roughly the correct proportions.

June 5, 2009

I never know quite what they were saying about heroism and then there are all these unanswered questions.

June 1, 2009

The film really struggles to find its voice and to find purpose and meaning.

June 1, 2009 | Full Review…

[Director] Glatzer aims to wring laughter out of this desperation but succeeds only in producing a series of contrived characters and situations that make The Breakfast Club look like an unfiltered documentary.

May 29, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for What Goes Up


Tries pretty hard to be weird, but a lot of the characters seemed pretty pointless and their actions unmerrited.

Curtis Lilly
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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