Unfortunate as it is, there's a new type of genre out on the streets, waving its angsty little hand in our faces each year -- the "quirky, teen-related Sundance film." It's almost as if these films were designed to play at Sundance; their main character almost always has a strange disability (be it thumb-sucking, vagina dentata or stuttering), their family is, of course, dysfunctional, their best friend is a creepy serial killer in training and their love life is in shambles. While Rocket Science does get a lot of things right, it's hard not to label it as "just another Sundance film" -- the kind that's amusing to watch, but easily forgettable.
The nice thing about Rocket Science is that, more often than not, it's honest. It doesn't expect a lot from its characters, and in doing so the film continually keeps the audience guessing. Just when you thought the plot was heading in one direction, it spins around and heads the other way. The triumphs are personal -- more internal than external -- and while the mainstream audience might be turned off by a film that doesn't hand you the "happy ending" on a silver platter, it might be a nice change of pace heading into the latter part of a summer that's been full of dumb, predictable, popcorn fluff.