What Goes Up – DVD Review

Damn it, Steve Coogan, you’re better than this.

I don’t know what this movie is supposed to be. I don’t think the movie knows what it is supposed to be. Is it supposed to be a comedy? Or is it supposed to be a drama? If it’s supposed to be a comedy it fails miserably. If it’s supposed to be a drama, it fails slightly less horribly but still falls short.

Steve Coogan plays a big city reporter who writes a story about a mother who loses her son. She then kills herself but he keeps writing stories about her as if she were alive. He becomes so engraved in the story that his editor sends him to nowheresville to cover the challenger launch from one of the astronauts hometown. While there, one of his old friends that just happens to live in that town dies surrounded by mysterious causes. Did he kill himself or was it an accident? Nobody in the city cares though, so why should I?

There are a few people in the city who care: the kids in his class. The kids in his class are the “special” kids. Not flat out mentally challenged, but just a little off. Peggy is the star athlete who was paralyzed in an accident and turned into a sour puss. There are the weird twins who aren’t twins but can’t be apart for more than 3 seconds. Tess is the emo girl with problems at home. Jim is….something. He chronically pulls it to the neighbor breast feeding. And Lucy is completely normal except for a few “mistakes” that apparently got her sentence to the class. At least that’s what the storyline says. I think it’s more likely Hillary Duff couldn’t act any other way so they just made the character that way. Why is she famous again?

The kids in the class are really torn up over the death of their teacher so they latch onto Coogan, who has a nasty little habit of lying and stretching the truth. Makes him a pretty good journalist though. As he’s hanging out with the kids and talking to them, he senses there could be a good story about the kids in the class and so he continues to follow the kids around and talks with them and they accept him into the group. That’s basically the movie. Him trying to figure out all the kids secrets and screw up his own life.

Coogan through the movie originally tries to be a leader and guiding light, and by the end of the movie he’s trying to sleep with Hillary Duff. That leads to one of the epic fails of the movie. He follows her car tracks back to her house because he’s never been to her house. When he gets there, he tosses a rock at the window to get her attention even though he would have no idea which window was hers. That’s not all, he then runs to the neighbors house and picks up a ladder and climbs up to her room straight up Animal House style. She tells him to go back down because her parents will hear, and he does after they agree to meet the next day. He then walks away, leaving the ladder. She’s upstairs, she’s not going down to take down the ladder. In all reality her parents are going to get up the next day and see a ladder going up to her room. I don’t think her parents would let her leave the house alone again.

As Coogan is trying to get with Duff, it becomes clear that Josh Peck’s character also wants a piece of the action. He’s always seen in trees after she closes her curtains. Then after the previous paragraphs occurrence he goes back to the neighbor and stands right outside the window while…ya know. The mom leaves and the baby starts choking and he rushes in to be the hero. And that is accepted. No one questions why he’s standing close enough to the window to see the baby choking; they just accept that he’s a hero.

That’s not even the worst of the stories. There is an entire story arc about Peggy, the handicapped one, and sex. I don’t know why it’s there. Is it supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to draw sympathy? Is it supposed to make me cry tears of hatred? I don’t know. It’s just a side story that gets way too much time in the story.

That’s another thing. Time. What Goes Up is a long movie. It could easily have a half hour cut off of it if not more.

What Goes Up is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

It looks and sounds fine. Nothing is done amazingly well with the camera, it’s just standard stuff.


Standard fare. Nothing original. Boring. Few laughs here and there but not what you’d expect from a movie with Steve Coogan and Molly Shannon. It’s just not worth the time of watching it.


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents What Goes Up. Directed by Jonathan Glatzer. Starring Steve Coogan, Hillary Duff, Josh Peck, and Olivia Thrilby. Written by Michael Samonek. Running time: 115 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: June 17, 2009. Available at Amazon.com.