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School For Scoundrels (A Movie Review)


Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder, Jacinda Barrett, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sarah Silverman, Matt Walsh, Horatio Sanz, Todd Louiso, Paul Scheer, Jon Glaser, Leonard Earl Howze, Jim Parsons, Aziz Ansari, Remy K. Selma, Andrew Daly, Matt Besser, Luiz Guzman and David Cross.

Screenplay by Todd Phillips & Scot Armstrong.

Directed by Todd Phillips.

Distributed by The Weinstein Company. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13.

You often hear movie reviewers refer to films as forgettable. I even do it sometimes myself, though I try to avoid it because it is very dismissive of someone's work. However, School for Scoundrels has taken this thought to a new level.

I try my best to be very conscientious about reviewing movies in a timely manner after I see them. On rare occasions I will wait a week or two when things are just too hectic.

I saw School for Scoundrels almost two months ago. In that time, I have written several other movie reviews. However, to be completely honest, until today I had completely and totally forgotten about the movie. Then I was reading an article about Zach Braff's latest film The Last Kiss, which co-starred Jacinda Barrett, who is also the romantic lead of School of Scoundrels. It suddenly came back to me in a hazy "oh yeah, did I ever do anything about that movie?"

I hadn't. Not even given the movie a thought. Not that it was horrible – although it certainly wasn't good – but there were some good dumb laughs. But – wait for it – it was "totally forgettable."

Too bad, it's got a good premise. A guy is such a shy loser that he takes a course to learn the finer points of being a bastard. The teacher is a bitter, angry, sarcastic creep named Dr. P. Billy Bob Thornton is spectacular at playing characters like this and he is the only consistently enjoyable part of the movie.

Unfortunately, co-star Jon Heder is quickly becoming one of the more annoying comic actors in movies; with Napoleon Dynamite, The Benchwarmers and now this. Heder is completely overmatched up against his co-star. It's not good when you want the bad guy to pound the good guy throughout the entire running time of the movie, but that is how you feel here. Then, by the time Ben Stiller shows up for a completely unnecessary (and unfunny) cameo role, the movie has totally worn out its welcome. (10/06)

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2006 All rights reserved. Posted: October 2, 2006.

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