Wonder why this film seems to drag on and on? The lack of an Overall Story Throughline and consequently, no Story Limit places The Spectacular Now in the discard pile.1 While Miles Teller engages the Audience as the live-in-the-moment Main Character Sutter Keely, he fails to have any narrative purpose.
Typically, writers and filmmakers leave out the Influence Character or the Relationship Story that develops between the Main Character and Influence Character. They don’t often forget to write an actual story. With no Goal in sight, no Protagonist, no Antagonist to prevent the achievement of that Goal, or any other number of logistical plot appreciations, The Spectacular Now becomes nothing more than a long and drawn-out character study.
The pieces were there to compare and contrast two different approaches to dealing with co-dependency, but they never came together in support of a greater argument or message. Meaning happens when writers define edges. By failing to provide any plot for Sutter to work through, The Spectacular Now loses shape and ultimately, relevance.