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Jeffrey Blitz, who made the sublime high-school documentary Spellbound, comes a cropper trying to repeat the trick in his feature debut. Whereas the stories of those spelling-bee hopefuls were touching, the efforts of nerdy high-schooler Hal (Reece Daniel Thompson) to overcome his speech impediment and win the debating prize are hijacked by a needless voiceover and interminable blasts of indie pop. Blitz let the story tell itself in Spellbound; this time, he's trying too hard.

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