You knew a guy like Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) in high school — we all did. He’s the kid everyone loves and nobody can rely on, the larger-than-life goofball whose legendary status on campus is in indirect proportion to the mess he’ll make of his life. Girls swoon and then are done with him in a month. He’s going nowhere and having a great time doing it.
“The Spectacular Now,” a cleareyed, disarmingly tender adolescent romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre, both old (“Say Anything”) and new (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), gets us to share the affection, exasperation, and concern Sutter’s friends and teachers feel for him. It matters a lot that Teller has the part: A gifted young actor usually marooned in raucous teen comedies (“21 & Over,” “Project X”), he has the quickness of mind and shagginess of affect to win us over. We have to like Sutter, even if he doesn’t much like himself.