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School for Scoundrels (UR)
DVD disk
Feb 16, 2007 By: Mathew Plale
School for Scoundrels (UR) order
Director:
Todd Phillips

Actors:
Jon Heder
Billy Bob Thornton
Jacinda Barrett

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Jon Heder plays a loser (I know, I know, give him an Oscar) who enrolls in an egomaniac's (Billy Bob Thornton) confidence building class, only to find out his teacher is after his love interest. No Ligers here, folks.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I haven’t seen the theatrical version of School for Scoundrels, but I think it’s safe to assume the major difference in this “Ballbuster Edition” is more usage of the ‘F’-bomb.

Todd Phillips’ previous works, Road Trip and Old School are extremely funny movies. When American Pie 2 and other college-oriented comedies were being released back-to-back, Road Trip and Old School stood out. They established Todd Phillips as a top dog amongst comedy directors. But then came Starsky and Hutch, and now, the appalling School For Scoundrels.

Phillips seems to have developed a knack for casting nitwits catching their “15 minutes.” Tom Green? Come on! Jon Heder? Come on again!

Heder plays another Napoleon Dynamite-type (good luck escaping that one, pal) whose dorm is populated by self-help books, and couldn’t get a date with either one of his hands.

School For Scoundrels provides only a handful of laughs, most of which come from Billy Bob Thornton, who if not for him, the movie would be 100% unwatchable, as opposed to only 85%. The rest of the “LOLs” if you will, come from a toned-down Sarah Silverman.

The movie provides a number of scenes involving Thornton’s classes, including one where he teaches his students how to interact with women on dates. The camera eyes one student, pans around, and oh, look, Michael Clarke Duncan in drag! Hardy har har!

Rolling Stone magazine referred to the film as “Bad Santa meets Napoleon Dynamite!” Umm…why? Because it’s deathly unfunny and repetitive? Or because the star from each is in this one? By that logic, wouldn’t that mean that Casino is Stanley & Iris meets Home Alone 2?

Let’s get out the big red marker, shall we?
THE EXTRAS
Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Todd Phillips and Writer Scot Armstrong: Wow…this was a lot less funny that I was hoping. The guys are comfortable together, but are a bit too serious/stiff throughout the entirety, providing only a couple of good laughs, as when Phillips jokes, “This is better than any Hitchcock movie ever.” Not much insight into methods or anything you might want in a commentary. Skip it.

Alternate Ending (4:05): Jon Heder doesn’t die, I’ll say that much. Therefore, you can skip this one. Basically, it’s the same ending only not on the plane.

The Making-of You Didn’t See on TV (19:28): AKA ‘The Making-of You Didn’t Want to See Anyway’. No, this is actually very funny, with the cast (from Thornton to David Cross) poking fun at the values of Scoundrels, insisting it is an Oscar contender and will inspire a new cereal—also: confidential information on Phillips’ very personal relationship with his dog. A hell of a lot more amusing than the movie itself.

A painfully unamusing Gag Reel (2:10) and the Theatrical Trailer round out this “Ballbuster Edition.”
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
School for Scoundrels is definitely one of the unfunniest films of 2006, though I did miss the Tim Allen triple-header. Those who dug it in theaters (I'm talkin' to you, Heder!) will probably like some of the features, but may find their intelligence questioned by cashiers.
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