School for Scoundrels

by Alan Rapp on September 29, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: School for Scoundrels
  • IMDb: link

School for ScoundrelsRoger (Jon Heder) is a loser.  By day he is abused by fellow workers and law breakers in his job as a meter-maid.  By night Roger pines for his neighbor, a sweet girl named Amanda (Jacinda Barrett) whose roommate (Sarah Silverman) is as sarcastic as Amanda is nice.

Unable to express his feelings to the woman he loves Roger decides to join a secret confidence building course run by the unscrupulous Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton).  There he meets other losers like himself (Todd Louiso, Horatio Sanz, Matt Walsh, Jon Glaser, Leonard Earl Howse) and for the first time begins to feel a part of something.

Roger’s success in the class has some dire consequences.  Dr. P decides to challenge Roger and make a move on Amanda, using every dirty trick imaginable.  Roger is forced to either tell the truth or beat his professor at his own game.

The film is full of gags and some increasingly brutal humor.  It doesn’t have the balls to go for the big laughs Thornton got in Bad Santa, but it is consistently funny throughout.

The supporting cast, stolen mostly from former SNL casts, does well.  Silverman plays her typical bitch on wheels and is a little too shrill for me here.  If she’s serious about giving acting a chance I’d like to see her branch out a little more.  There are two cameo roles that stand out, Ben Stiller and David Cross, who are so good you wonder why the script couldn’t fit them into the plot more.

It’s a fine comedy that won’t bore you.  It doesn’t have the huge belly laughs you would expect from this material, but it is consistantly funny throughout.  If guy humor, men getting shot in the crotch with paint guns, and losers trying pitifully to impress women sound like your thing, you should enjoy yourself.  It’s well worth the price of admission.

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