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School for Scoundrels

A kick in the ass
By TOM MEEK  |  September 27, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars

Billy Bob Thornton in School for Scoundrels
Boot-camp therapy for lovable losers has long proved a sure-comic formula. If Hitch was a peck on the cheek, then Todd Phillips’s retelling of the 1960 British film (based on Stephen Potter’s novel) is a kick in the ass. It’s Napoleon Dynamite meets Bad Santa, and why not? The personae of those films are pretty much extenuated here. Dynamite’s Jon Heder plays Roger, a dorky meter “maid” who has a crush on Amanda (Jacinda Barrett), his next-door neighbor, but can muster only a panic attack in her presence. Santa’s Billy Bob Thornton is Dr. P, an audacious bastard running a night school for losers yearning to be winners. It’s all fun and empowerment games for Roger — until Dr. P sets his sights on Amanda. Thornton powers the film with his demonic sneer, and Sarah Silverman is a snotty plus as Amanda’s contemptuous roomie. Phillips (Old School) is on his game too, but as the film swings towards conclusion, the lesson plan loses its way.

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Related: Sexual Politics, The Benchwarmers, The 100 unsexiest men 2007: 100-91, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Napoleon Dynamite, Sarah Silverman, Billy Bob Thornton,  More more >
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