Attempting to move up and beyond 'High School Musical,' Zac Efron has received fairly good reviews from critics for his portrayal as a wide-eyed high school-aged stage hand in 'Me and Orson Welles.'

The movie, which was directed by Richard Linklater ('A Scanner Darkly,' 'Before Sunset') and opens Wednesday in limited release (four theaters, to be exact), focuses on the on-set action during the run-up to Welles' 1937 stage production of 'Julius Caesar.'

Check out what critics are saying. Attempting to move up and beyond 'High School Musical,' Zac Efron has received fairly good reviews from critics for his portrayal as a wide-eyed high school-aged stage hand in 'Me and Orson Welles.'

The movie, which was directed by Richard Linklater ('A Scanner Darkly,' 'Before Sunset') and opens Wednesday in limited release (four theaters, to be exact), focuses on the on-set action during the run-up to Welles' 1937 stage production of 'Julius Caesar.'

The New York Times: "Though specific in its period references -- the musical choices in particular are fresh and precise -- this movie is much more than an exercise in nostalgia for those storied old days, when Harold Ross edited The New Yorker, Orson Welles bestrode the boards of the Mercury Theatre and Brooks Atkinson reviewed plays for The New York Times. Instead, 'Me and Orson Welles,' directed by Richard Linklater, with a screenplay (from Robert Kaplow's novel) by Holly Gent Palmo and Vince Palmo, pays tribute to youthful creative ambition where and whenever it may thrive."

New York Daily News: 'Me and Orson Welles' will be known best as the film in which Zac Efron -- the "me" in the movie's name -- took his first, tentative steps beyond the teen market. But it's the second half of the title that matters more.
Surprisingly conventional by director Richard Linklater's standards, this pleasant, low-key dramedy is most memorable for the discovery of co-star Christian McKay.

The New York Post: "In truth, this charming, thankfully atypical film by Richard Linklater ('Before Sunrise' and its even more soporific sequel) belongs not to Efron but to British actor Christian McKay, who entertainingly dominates the proceedings as the young, hammy genius Welles."

The Village Voice: "The most significant American artist before Andy Warhol to take "the media" as his medium, Orson Welles lives on not only in posthumously restored director's cuts of his re-released movies, but as a character in other people's novels, plays, and movies -- notably Richard Linklater's deft, affectionate, and unexpectedly enjoyable 'Me and Orson Welles.'"


Time Magazine: "In the new Richard Linklater film, 'Me and Orson Welles,' a youthful Welles is brilliantly embodied by Christian McKay in one of those, hey-who's-that? performances that tends to draw Oscar talk, even if the film itself isn't much more than an extremely pleasant lark."

Los Angeles Times: "Richard's problem is really Efron's problem too, and thus the film's (which may be why it stumbled around the festival circuit for nearly a year before finding a distributor). The character spends most of the movie trailing Welles around like a puppy, only occasionally biting the hand that feeds him. The role was supposed to mark Efron as a grown-up actor and while he's pleasant enough he remains very much in the puppy-training phase."

Newark Star-Ledger: "The story of the impressionable young boy who meets a great and powerful man is an old one. But what's the filmmaker to do when the mentor is a much more interesting character than the protégé? That's the problem faced by 'Me and Orson Welles,' a movie about a high-schooler who somehow manages to nab a role in Welles' classic 1937 stage production of 'Julius Caesar.'"
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