We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"HairBrained" is painfully contrived and self-consciously quirky from the word go. It has the audacity to borrow liberally from far superior comedies—"Rushmore," specifically—without contributing much in the way of originality or believability.
The cruelest irony of all: It's a movie about a child genius which the child genius himself probably would find dull, flimsy and unfunny.
Alex Wolff stars as the aforementioned mega-brain, who introduces himself to us early as part of the film's copious and obvious use of voiceover: "Hello, my name is Eli Pettifog. I'm 13 years old. Today is my first day of college." Eli's defining trait, besides his comparative youth on campus, is the massive mop of messy dark hair atop his head. It calls to mind The Cure's lead singer Robert Smith, circa 1986; it also suggests what "Rushmore" hero Max Fischer might look like had he stuck his finger in a light socket.
The reason behind the 'do: It protects his brain. Hence the film's title. But rather than making Eli seem like an intriguing and complicated figure, the hair feels more like a distracting affectation–one more method of turning him into a lovable oddball, in theory.