Wednesday, March 28, 2007

School of Scoundrels

This last weekend I went to see a couple of movies. One was one I had been looking forward to because it starred two individuals I happen to like quite a bit. Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder known to millions as Napoleon Dynamite take on the unsuspecting leading roles in this little comedy with a focus on one individual finding themselves.

Heder plays the part of Roger, a shy, meter maid who decides to take a class on developing his self worth and self confidence. Billy Bob Thornton plays the instructor Dr. P who while is effective, is unorthodox in his approach to say the least. Ultimately the two become rivals after the same girl and we see a side of Roger that not even he knew existed. What transpires next is an attempt at a comedic rival between the two.

I have to admit, Heder is in danger of being type cast if he don’t explore more roles with more potential. Unfortunately what we see in School of Scoundrels is a straight haired urban impression of Napoleon Dynamite. While that character had depth, Roger is a clone with the exception of the environment. As disappointing as Heder was in the role of Roger, Billy Bob Thornton is a major let down in the role Dr. P. The surprise is that he is such a strong actor, with such incredible abilities, virtually none of which are used in this movie. I have to say this, and some won’t like me for it, but School of Scoundrels is the most disappointing movie I have seen either Heder or Thornton in. The script is weak, and the editing choppy and distractive.

There are other disappointments. The lack of storytelling in what is on the surface a good idea, teacher with a strong personality goes up against a student who is challenged to become a man confident in his abilities. This is a theme most guys can relate to. Sure there are those who are strong enough to pull off the “aren’t I impressive” mode. We see most of those guys on late night television, on shows like The Fifth Wheel or Elimidate and others. Unfortunately that is not where most of us are at; especially those single, living in a competitive world, especially in the area of dating. Those of us who are a little shy need examples of how we can overcome and sometimes, even get the girl. We also deserve those stories being told with some level of integrity. For those of us who may have lived in that world, we know there is enough comedy involved that the story could be told with a lot of laughs. Again, unfortunately, laughs are few and far between for School of Scoundrels.

I really like Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder. I look forward to seeing them in movies in the future, hopefully those movies will have something about them worth watching. I can’t imagine what this movie would have been like with these two seemingly perfect actors in their roles had they had a script or some direction to work with. While there are a few funny scenes in the movie, don’t be disappointed like I was by spending hard earned money to see this movie. Shucks how bad is it, I would personally recommend that if having this desire to see it to wait until it gets to the discount racks at the video store. A family of four at .99 cents won’t have wasted too much money at that point. The only redeeming value to this movie, is a decent supporting cast, unfortunately you know it is bad when the supporting cast outshines the leading roles.

On a scale of 1 – 10 for the potential the movie had with the leads, I’ll give a very disappointing 2

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