"Do not push
confidence is non-existent. Constantly made fun of at work, women ignore
him and he can't even volunteer as a big brother as the local youth centre
because none of the kids want him but as the final straw breaks him, his
friend Ian (Cross) gives him a number to call. The voice on the other end
of the phone tells him to come to the learning annex and bring $5000. When
he arrives he is greeted by Dr. P (Thornton) who tells Roger and the rest
of the group that his class is going to change their lives.
of remaking classic movies continues but can this US set version of an Ealing
classic live up to its illustrious predecessor?
The 1960 Ealing
comedy 'School for Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating' starred
illustrious Ian Carmichael and the legendary Terry Thomas in the main roles
and rightly considered a British comedy classic but with the current lack
of imagination at the major studios in Hollywood, the film has been remade
for the American market.
The premise is simple.
There is a secret class for men with extremely low self-esteem that teaches
them how to gain confidence in themselves and actually enable them to talk
to and date women. The problems start when one of the group, Roger, starts
to put his training into practice and actually starts to turn his life around.
This brings out the competitive spirit in instructor Dr. P and he pursues
Roger's new love Amanda. Of course high-jinx ensues but coming from the
director of 'Old School', 'Starsky and Hutch' and 'Road Trip', you should
be expecting more laughs.
The problem with
the remake of 'School for Scoundrels' is that it doesn't really deliver
when it comes to providing genuine laugh-out-loud moments. There are scattered
moments when you will raise a smile and mutter the odd chuckle. This is
mainly because of the rivalry between Billy Bob Thornton's Dr. P and Jon
Heder's Roger. A competition of one-upmanship ensues but most of the best
gags were revealed in the theatrical trailer (a problem with many a comedy
movie). This takes nothing away from some fine comedic performance from
Thornton and Heder but both of them are becoming typecast in these types
of roles. The support is OK as well, with Michael Clarke Duncan sharing
the butt of the jokes, Jacinda Barrett looking beautiful and Ben Stiller
making a funny cameo.
'School for Scoundrels'
is a comedy that delivers laughs but no real big ones. While the performances
make up for some of the scripts shortcomings, there is not enough here to
keep you amused or interested in what is going on.
Presented in Anamorphic
Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well.
with writer/director Todd Phillips and writer Scot Armstrong
Commenting on their fourth film together, writing partners Scot Armstrong
and director Todd Phillips provide a chatty and fun track for 'School for
Scoundrels'. The pair talks about remaking the British classic and how they
wrote the screenplay with Billy Bob Thornton in mind. They also discuss,
in depth, the rest of the cast, highlighting the contributions of Jon Heder,
David Cross and the lovely Jacinda Barrett. This is a good commentary that
fans of the film and the director will enjoy.
See a different final confrontation and confession by Roger as he tries
to win the girl of his dreams from Dr. P.
Inside the World
of School for Scoundrels (19.27 mins)
Writer/director Todd Phillips and stars Jon Heder, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacinda
Barrett, Matt Walsh, Sarah Silverman, David Cross, Paul Scheer and Michael
Clarke Duncan take you behind the scenes of 'School for Scoundrels'. Taking
a more comedic approach and not seriously as you might have expected, the
cast talk about their chances of getting an Oscar and Billy Bob Thornton
and Jon Heder perform in the style of their characters from 'Sling blade'
and 'Napoleon Dynamite'.
Gag Reel (2.11
Watch the cast and crew have fun on the set of 'School for Scoundrels'
Watch the footage that previewed the film in cinemas and on the internet.
The DVD treatment
for 'School for Scoundrels' is fun. The commentary track is very good and
the featurette provides many a laugh, especially from David Cross. Fans
of the film should be very pleased.
Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating
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