School for Scoundrels

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

This movie got below-average reviews and was a box-office dud, but I like both Jon Heder and Billy-Bob Thornton, and I remembered the TV ads as kind of appealing. So I picked it up, and it's not too bad. Not great, but a decent way of spending a couple hundred minutes on a Sunday afternoon.

Heder plays Roger, a shy and good-hearted "meter maid". He's put upon by his peers, disrespected and abused by the citizenry, ineffectual in his volunteer work, and hopelessly infatuated with the cute chick down the hall. He falls into an "adult education" class run by "Dr. P", played by Billy-Bob, who's a take-no-prisoners, me-first sonofabitch.

There's a pretty good supporting cast (including my brother Horatio). The movie makes an honest effort to get Roger's characterization right. The first few minutes are a great example of "show, don't tell" moviemaking. If they'd kept that up, it could have been a great little movie, instead of a not-awful little movie. But it kept me awake and laughing most of the way through.

Consumer alert: the original movie was PG-13, and this "Unrated Ballbuster Edition" DVD has added bad language and slapstick crotch-related violence that (I estimate) would bounce it up to a PG-14.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 2:23 PM EDT