The 24-year-old writer-director Monty Lapica makes an ill-advised stab at playing the 17-year-old version of himself in this autobiographical drama about a Las Vegas high-schooler with a super-high IQ, anger-management issues, and an alcohol addiction. A dead father looms large, as does a dissolute, pill-popping mom who begs God to save her son from his reckless ways. As it happens, Self-Medicated does concern an intervention—albeit not a divine one—in which Lapica (here called Andrew) is interred in the kind of rehab center that makes San Quentin look like Club Med; cue tough-love counseling sessions, trips to the disciplinary "standing room," and the inevitable escape attempt. As a director, Lapica labors to affect a kind of stark, airless "realism," yet long before Andrew's eleventh-hour encounter with a saintly, homily-spouting homeless man, Self-Medicated reveals itself as a uniquely narcissistic fantasy about the brilliant, misunderstood kid with a heart of gold whofinally figures out how to get his shit together: Good Will Hunting with a heaping side of Capracorn.
Lapica trades teen angst for moviemaking pretension.
Opens at Meridian, Fri., Aug. 31. Rated R. 107 minutes.