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June 12, 2024

Review

'School' teaches no new lessons

October 5, 2006

I guess you could say the "School for Scoundrels" was about a school. Kind of.

And I guess the guys were scoundrels. Maybe.

It definitely wasn’t bad either. But it sure as hell wasn’t good.

It is obvious that Jon Heder aka Napoleon Dynamite isn’t really an afro-headed dork, so why does he have to play one in every movie he is in?

The film starts out following the everyday life of Roger (Heder). He reads self-help books, works as a meter maid and makes a fool out of himself in front of the girl he crushes on. It’s just so pathetic, and we’ve seen it all before until Dr. P (Billy Bob Thorton) enters Roger’s life and changes it forever.

Thorton runs a class that teaches every stereotyped loser — the too fat guy, the too skinny guy, the old guy who lives in mom’s basement — to become... cool? I guess I’m not sure what I’d call it because I can’t remember when Thorton (or any of his characters) were ever cool.

For $5,000, the doc humiliates them and pushes them for some sort of greater good. When he realizes Roger might be competition, he goes after Roger’s girl, Amanda, and Roger does everything he can to stop it.

Amanda is played by Jacinda Barrett. That may not sound very familiar to a lot of you, but if you’re as old as I am you will probably recognize the model’s Australian accent and face from the “Real World: London,” which aired on MTV in 1995. The last thing I knew, she was dating Chris Hardwick (Jenny McCarthy’s co-host from “Singled Out”). So I have no idea how she actually got into a movie that didn’t involve a fluffer.

Ben Stiller plays one of the doctor’s old students, whose life was ruined by the man. He was only in the last half of the movie. That was fine with me because I could not stand his New Jersey accent or the fake, awful mustache he was wearing. I think he was really just a big name they tried to throw in the movie to give it more clout, but it didn’t work.

Michael Clark Duncan plays Thorton’s ass-raping assistant, but he wasn’t really funny either — just big and scary. The only funny character was Eli (played by Tom Louiso, “High Fidelity”). And it wasn’t even him that was funny — it was funny that he ends up marrying a really hot chick... who thinks he’s Moby.

“School for Scoundrels” started off slow and ended with little more than a chuckle. I can’t even really tell you about a great part because nothing sticks out except for what I’ve seen over and over again in TV trailers.

All of the funniest scenes were just too far and too few between for me to forget the simple facts: that Billy Bob Thorton is still creepy, and Jon Heder is still not famous.

Jenna Lee is a student at UW-River Falls.

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