School for Scoundrels

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School for Scoundrels
Cast: Jon Heder
Studio: Weinstein
Rating: 7/10

THE STORY: In SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS, Jon Heder plays Roger, a beleaguered New York City meter maid who is plagued by anxiety and low self-esteem. In order to overcome his feelings of inadequacy, Roger enrolls in a top-secret confidence-building class taught by the suavely underhanded Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton). Aided by his assistant, Lesher (Michael Clarke Duncan), Dr. P uses unorthodox, often dangerous methods, but he guarantees results: Employ his techniques and you will unleash your inner lion.

Surrounded by a band of misfit classmates – Walsh (Matt Walsh), who’s dying to move out of mother’s basement; Diego (Horatio Sanz), a punching bag for his hen-pecker of a wife; and Eli (Todd Louiso), a shy guy just looking for female companionship – Roger’s confidence grows and he makes his way to the head of the class, even finding the courage to ask out his longtime crush, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). But Roger quickly discovers that star students have a way of catapulting Dr. P’s competitive side into high gear. Soon enough, the teacher sets out to infiltrate and destroy Roger’s personal and professional life. Nothing is off limits for Dr. P, not even the object of Roger’s affection. In order to show Amanda Dr. P’s true colors, Roger must rally his new friends and find a way to beat the master at his own game.

THE REVIEW: No one goes into School for Scoundrels expecting anything too interesting so when the movie starts going and builds up the laughs you are happily surprised. Most of School for Scoundrels is dopey humor that can be a huge hit or miss and thankfully School for Scoundrels gets the shot in the crotch to be funny. There are many movies where the shot to the crotch doesn’t make us laugh.

Heder needs to make movies only about being a loser. He’s good at it because that is who he is. The rest of the class is funny at being similar losers—particularly Horatio Sanz. Thornton is great playing a guy we can easily hate. School for Scoundrels wouldn’t be nearly as funny without Thornton. The rest of the cast does a good job at bringing the laughs.

FRANKLY: School for Scoundrels’ audience isn’t just the Jackass crowd. Fans of Old School and Will Ferrell will feel right at home. The difference is that no one is trying too hard to be fun and they let the jokes come without forcing everything to the highest degree. School for Scoundrels will be forgotten in a few months; however it’s entertaining while you are there.

+ Charlie Craine