POINTS FOR HONESTY: Being Charlie was co-written by director Rob Reiner's son Nick, based on his own experiences dealing with substance abuse. The making of Being Charlie was doubtless a therapeutically beneficial exchange between father and son—but despite insights into life at a rehab center and the strum of a few emotional chords, Charlie is more infuriating than constructive.
When we meet him, Charlie (Nick Robinson) is escaping the latest in a string of rehab centers. His freedom is short-lived, and scenes depicting his life at his next rehab center—complete with group therapy, advice from his counselor (Common), and joking among clients (which, unwisely, devolve into fat-shaming and homophobia)—feel authentic, clearly drawn from the younger Reiner's first-person experiences.
But while Charlie is charming, he's impossible to sympathize with: He steals Oxycontin from an elderly, working-class cancer victim in the very first scene, for crying out loud, and that's with six months' sobriety. His father (Cary Elwes) is a former actor running for governor of California—if you like the family mansion, wait until you see the beach house. His mom (Susan Misner) is great, and while his father's ambitious, they don't hate each other. Even his hard-partying best friend (Devon Bostick) is, in his own way, supportive. Charlie's not depressed, unpopular, or dumb. There's no discernible reason at all for Charlie to ruin his life. He's just a shit. Moreover, the film can't keep on its own track. Once Charlie meets Eva (Morgan Saylor) in rehab, their blossoming relationship becomes the focus of his development (even as the disregard with which Eva is written deepens the deafness of tone) before it's abruptly dropped altogether.
It's understandable that the Reiners would want to make this film on their journey to wholeness and healing. Presuming it needed to be shared with the rest of us was a rather naïve proposal.