CRACKED REVIEWS: School for Scoundrels

Anyone who follows comedy has been looking forward to School for Scoundrels for some time. With Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong, the legendary writer/director team behind Old School, on board and comedic talent like Billy Bob Thornton, John Heder, Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari and David Cross starring, it' a virtual "We are the World" of comedic talent. And just as that '80s jam proved that you can get too much of a good thing in one recording studio, this film sometimes has a tough time fully utilizing all of the talent at its disposal. Still, it'll make you laugh harder and more frequently than any film that' come out in a while.



It doesn't take very long to realize that the main character, Roger, played by Napoleon Dynamite (we're just going to go ahead and call him that until he starts doing anything other than Napoleon Dynamite impressions in his movies) is a colossal pussy. He reads self-help books with ridiculous titles like, I'm Worth It Darn It, and works as a pussifed parking meter attendant for the New York City Police Department. On the job and dressed in the standard issue ball-hugger shorts, Napolean is just about the least intimidating cop this side of Reno 911.

He also can't get up the courage to ask out his neighbor, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett), who also happens to be the justification for his existence. And his shitty life entirely hits the fan after he' kicked out of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program because his "little brother" wants a cooler buddy.

While any self-respecting individual would find a clever way to off himself after that, Napoleon' friend, Ian (David Cross), gives him a phone number for Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton), who runs a covert class that helps losers discover their inner lion. Napoleon enters the class and encounters a cadre of similarly wimpy lay-abouts, including Diego (SNL' Horatio Sanz), Walsh (Dog Bites Man' Matt Walsh) and Eli (Todd Louiso, High Fidelity).

Miraculously, Napoleon begins to excel in the class, and even musters the courage to ask Amanda out. But Mr. P takes the competition seriously and sets out to destroy the life of his star student, which means courting his girl. Napoleon must use his newly acquired knowledge to defeat the man who taught it to him.

School for Scoundrels has the same penchant for frat boy laughs as Old School. The best laughs come when the students first start putting some of Mr. P' teachings to use, the highlight being when everyone is given a beeper and asked to initiate a confrontation with whomever' around the second it goes off.

Rounding out the cast is Sarah Silverman as Amanda' roommate, rising stand-up sensation Aziz Ansari in a brief appearance and even Ben Stiller gets in the act in a somewhat amusing back-story.

The film occasionally becomes diluted with sub-plots and far too much attention is paid to the Roger and Amanda love story. We also could have really used some more David Cross.

But overall, School for Scoundrels is flat-out enjoyable. Thornton continues to kick ass in another role as a disgruntled middle-aged man, and the initial school scenes where the feckless students are starting to learn how to be men are not to be missed. Most importantly, any man or woman will walk out of the theater after seeing School for Scoundrels with a very clear understanding of how not to be a pussy.

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