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Thursday, October 12, 2006

School For Scoundrels Movie Review

School For Scoundrels

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder

Directed by” Todd Phillips

Rated : PG-13 for language, crude and sexual content, and some violence.

100 minutes

Spoilers and stuff ahead I think… but please, arm yourself before seeing this.

I was looking forward to this movie. I figured with Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder, and Ben Stiller (all shown in the previews), it couldn’t go wrong. That’ll teach me. I never looked at single review, just went along merrily with a bunch of my friends to enjoy what I really, really thought was going to be gut-busting hilarity.

You know how I have that eye-rolling thing? You know how I hate to waste my life? Siiiiighhhhh…. School For Scoundrels brought out both, the eye-rolling and the hatred, in full force.

Let’s break it down, real quick-like. You’ve got Jon Heder, Mr. Dynamite himself, who plays Roger, Nerd Extraordinaire. He is supposed to be likeable, I think, but he is the kind of character that just makes you squirm with embarrassment for him, from the moment the film starts and he is “carjacked” in his little meter man mobile (that’s his job- giving out tickets, so natch, everyone already pretty much hates him) and two thugs steal everything he owns, including his uniform. BWAHA- there’s funniness, a nerd gets his clothes stolen by bullies! Wait, that stopped being funny to me like in sixth grade.

Roger lives a pathetic little life, giving out tickets and being picked on by all the other meter people. He is such a loser that in the Big Brother program, three boys have wanted a new big brother after being stuck with him. (He cries at this, by the way, crushed-up-face, ugly lower lips-pooching kind of crying, ewwww….SO unattractive) He is dying of a crush on his totally inaccessible neighbor, a hot Aussie girl, (you know the type, she’s nice to him but he has no chance, ever, in hell, of hooking up with this girl…not in real life, anyway, or in viewers imaginations if they have any logical grasp of the Way of the World). He suffers from panic attacks that make him pass out unexpectedly. Heh. Yeah, funny so far…NOT. When a cool-by-comparison friend (but this guy’s pretty dorky too) gives him a “secret” phone number and tells him to sign up for this class- it will change his life- he does. Enter the school, where presumably all of these losers are going to learn to be scoundrels.

Billy Bob Thornton is the teacher, Dr. P, and he is an asshole. A cocky, conceited, cruel asshole who tells the guys in the class that yes, in fact, they are losers, and he is going to teach them to be slightly cooler, though they will never equal his coolness stature. Now I like BBT as an asshole. In fact, I adored him in Bad Santa (who didn’t?) So maybe the only part of this movie I enjoyed was his part. He has that shiny, creepy smile down pat, eh? Anyway, Dr. P ends up singling Roger out of the pack of more mediocre students (because apparently, Roger is the star of the class….it escapes me at the moment why) and sets out to destroy him, basically, in a burst of truly pathological competitiveness. I really did LOL at some of Dr. P’s antics. He’s pretty bad, just the way I like him.

Oh, yeah, and um… Dr. P. inexplicable sidekick is the giant, bald, black Lesher (played by Michael Clark Duncan), who basically scares the shit out of the unfortunate students in the scoundrel program and later, we learn, there are rumors that he rapes some of them. Ho Ho Ho…nothing like a some big black guy, raping skinny white guy humor to get those belly laughs going. I questioned the entire character of Lesher, wondering why? Who thought this guy was necessary? Does someone really think the idea of this dude raping people (men or women) is funny? Ben Stiller’s way-too-brief and not funny enough performance as one of Lesher’s past victims was a bit better than most of the movie, but not better enough to save it from my disgust. He was a past “star pupil” of Dr. P’s, who was ruined by the man and also, I guess, raped by Lesher, and now he lives in an old house full of cats…. Are you chuckling yet?

So the breakdown, as I was saying… Dr. P goes after the hot Australian girl and of course Roger thinks he is stealing her from him. Here goes the war. I admit, there were some funny parts in their little ridiculous tug-o-war over a women who was really not going to go for either of them (if they were honest with her, that is. Of course, lying and manipulating always turns a girl’s head). Here’s where the movie really kind of broke down to me. You’re supposed to like Roger. You’re supposed to find him sympathteic, the underdog who you cheer on to victory. The problem was… I didn’t like him. I not only didn’t like him, I fricking despised him. He was a stupid wimp in the beginning of the movie, and he was a stupid wimp at the end of the movie, only he’d learned to be mean, as well.

This guy never stood up for himself, not really. He was dumb. He was gullible to the point of, OHCOMEON, like falling for Dr. P’s ploys over and OVER again. (That was when my eye-rolling got a little out of control.) Heder’s acting was flat and lifeless and he spent probably two-thirds of the movie with this sullen, little (ugly) boy scowl on his face, clearly thinking, “This is not fair”. Yeah, well, life’s NOT, Roger, good old buddy, get used to it. He wore blue tennis shorts with a burgundy t-shirt tucked in, for gosh sakes. (When exactly was he supposed to suddenly, Cinderella-like, transform into a creature we could imagine winning a war of wits with Dr. P? Oh that’s right, NEVER… so his eventual triumph was just as stupid and unreal as the rest of the show). You know that the movie has lost you when you are cheering on the sadistic bad guy and hoping the underdog “Hero” falls into a garbage can somewhere, where he can sit in the banana peels and scowl with his arms crossed over his skinny little chest and his almost non-existent chin quivering.

I give it two &s…

& Billy Bob Thornton was great, until the end when he was supposed to be “humbled”…he don’t play humble too good.

& Sarah Silverman’s very brief role as Becky, the hot girl’s roommate, was probably the funniest part of the movie.


Blogger The Pagan Temple said...

Actors in a movie is only th efirst thing youshould look at when assumming whether or not it will be good. The two most important things to look at is, one, who is the director, and two, who are the writers? The actors come in a distant third. Even then, there's no sure way of telling for sure whether something is going to be worth your time. I've seen a lot of movies that looked good in the previews, but weren't worth a diddly squat when seen in full.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ouch. damn, that bad? Hmm... oh well! Can't all be good, now can they?

Hey, surprise! surprise! You've been tagged!

5:43 PM  
Blogger sock puppet said...

Have you watched 'Inside Man'? If so, I'd enjoy reading a review.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

mmm, no I don't think I've seen it. but you know I take requests :)
I'll add it to my netflicks!

3:15 PM  
Blogger vincentt said...

Life is good...

4:34 AM  

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