School for Scoundrels - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

School for Scoundrels Reviews

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½ August 9, 2013
Not the comedy that I had hoped for with Heder and Billy Bob going head to head. School for Scoundrels offers a few chuckles but nothing that will be quote worthy or even remembered after the films credits are running.
July 29, 2013
this movie looks funny and i'm sure i would enjoy seeing this one.
June 22, 2013
I've never found a Todd Phillips movie particularly funny. Most of them also have structural problems. School for Scoundrels fits into both of these categories. It opens with some promise, which only makes the final two-thirds feel like even more of a waste. If it had actually been about the "School for Scoundrels" of the title, perhaps it would have been worthwhile. It's wasted opportunity.

Roger (Jon Heder) is a loser. Or, more correctly, he's a step below "loser" on the totem pole. He pays the bills by handing out parking tickets -- which apparently pays well enough for him to drop $5,000 just like that -- he doesn't understand how to talk to, well, anyone, but especially his neighbor, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). He volunteers at a big brother program, but has had three children ditch him. He's given a number to call, at which point he is told to bring the aforementioned money to a certain location, and that's it. Apparently he's such a loser that he doesn't even understand the definition of the word "scam."

As it turns out -- because this is a movie -- there is no scam. There is a class taught by Dr. P (Billy Bob Thorton) about how one can better himself as a person. Presumably the class is only available to men, because there isn't a single woman in the class. Dr. P initially comes across as the type of drill instructor personality who might just be able to whip these lads into shape. At this moment in the film, directly following our introduction to Dr. P, I thought I might be in for something that's going to be really funny.

School for Scoundrels doesn't want to be about this classroom setting. It decides instead to have Dr. P set his sights on Amanda just to assert himself as the top dog. A battle of will ensues between the teacher and the student. Nothing fresh comes of this; they attempt to one-up the other a couple of times, all while not letting anyone outside of the classroom know that they previously knew each other. The "school" must remain a secret, presumably because nothing looks more sad than a grown man going to a class in order to gain more confidence.

The film isn't done completely removing itself from its initial idea, either. At the end, we get a slap-dash attempt at hammering in a rom-com. Or, at least, the ending to one. A character runs through an airport in hopes of getting to another character before he or she takes off -- and it comes down to the last second because that's how these things work. It's another change in direction that is very noticeable and doesn't work very well -- in this case because the rest of the film wasn't a romantic comedy.

I actually had fun for about the first twenty minutes of School for Scoundrels. It had everyone making fun of Jon Heder -- a generally good idea -- and it had a dark tone to the comedy. Later on, I didn't even see it attempt a lot of jokes. There were some, but the sharpness was lost and it became more about the plot, which kept changing direction unnecessarily. The jokes got lost along the way.

The good critic would mention that School for Scoundrels is a remake of the British film from 1960. I haven't seen that film, but I recommend taking the chance on it over this one anyway. There's a very good chance it'll be more worthwhile. If it isn't, at least you can be a hipster and when your friends ask if you've seen School for Scoundrels, you can tell them that you say the British one, which many of them won't know existed. You can educate them! That alone is makes it worth the time, doesn't it? I mean, you like knowing things, don't you?

Is it this obvious that I'm already pretty much out of things to say about this version of School for Scoundrels? Oh! Right. Rape gets made fun of. Dr. P has a right-hand-man, Lesher (Michael Clarke Duncan), a very large person with a deep voice. Apparently, he rapes people. So if you hate seeing that subject treated like the butt-end of a joke, there's another reason to dislike this movie. And it's not even like it's a one-time thing, either; it gets brought up three times, if memory serves.

Billy Bob Thorton works in his role. He's often a pleasure to watch perform, and seeing him take pot-shots at Jon Heder was a lot of fun. If the film was just that -- nothing more -- for 90 minutes, it would have been better. Jon Heder plays the loser well, too. He was Napoleon Dynamite back when that film was relevant (hint: it never was), so if you wanted to see him made fun of for twenty minutes, start up School for Scoundrels and turn if off after that time. You'll get some enjoyment out of that, at least.

School for Scoundrels is not a good movie after it changes direction, which is about twenty minutes in. It begins as a cynical movie whose target is Jon Heder's loser character. It ends as a romantic comedy that forgot jokes belong in comedies. Billy Bob Thorton is fun to watch when he makes fun of people, but that's about the only enjoyment I got out of it. Skip it and watch the original, if only to say that you've seen the original and unleash the hipster within. This concludes the first lesson of "School for Hipsters."
May 28, 2013
Heder is the only shining talent in this mess. Thornton comes off as a cruel, creepy a**hole.
½ May 25, 2013
Not nearly as funny as I thought it would be.
May 23, 2013
It wasn't the BEST film, but there were parts that were incredibly funny, like all of the nerdy guys trying to start confrontations with random people, and the paint ball fight thing. Billy Bob played creepy pretty good, and Jon Heder is cute and does really well in movies like this.
April 27, 2013
Thornton and Heder, excellent comedy duo
April 5, 2013
Any movie with Billy Bob other than sling blad can go back to where it came from
½ March 25, 2013
Could of done with more David Cross and Sarah Silverman. Couple of laughs though.
March 22, 2013
anger management 2 ft. John Heder in another role that makes me think that NAPOLEON DYNAMITE was a fluke.
½ March 18, 2013
Jon Heder is really great, but as a whole, the film is just really unfocused & doesn't really know where it's going. One of the weaker films that Todd Phillips has brought us.
½ March 17, 2013
I actually thought this was pretty good with a feel-good factor (GOD i HATE that phrase but what the hell). The airport scenes were funny. I liked Jon Heder after only seeing him in Napoleon Dynamite. There's not much to be said about this, it's just an updated version of the 1960's version. All the cast play their parts well, what more can you say? It's kind of an average Rom Com type thing but A LOT better than most. I still don't understand the name of it though, there's not a scoundrel in sight.
March 8, 2013
Reeeeeaally want to see it
½ February 24, 2013
When I first saw this. I had no idea it had been released in theaters? It didn't matter because this movie was all around laughable. I mean yeah, some serious scenes didn't go as well as they could have but hey the movie did it's job. Go Jon Heder, just because he's from CO as am I!!! (You gotta support the home team players) just sayin'. By the way, Wolfmother had some songs or two I think? Maybe one but it also made the movie a tad bit cool.
February 7, 2013
Maybe this hit too close to home for a lot of critics. Watchable.
January 22, 2013
This movie was funny for a little bit until they got into man-on-man rape comedy. Then I was like "...is it really time for rape jokes?" and the answer was simply "no."
½ January 22, 2013
hilarious at parts.. over all great plot.. fucking asshole teacher
½ January 12, 2013
Holarious movie, had it in my theater.
December 27, 2012
Billy Bob and John Heder work great together and it is definitely as good as Bad Santa or even better.
December 27, 2012
Im not interested in the storyline.
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