© Central Film Verleih

School for Scoundrels
U.S.A. 2006

Opening 2 Aug 2007

Directed by: Todd Phillips
Writing credits: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong, Hal E Chester, Patricia Moyes, Stephen Potter
Principal actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder, Jacinda Barrett, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sarah Silverman

Roger (Jon Heder) is your ultimate Mr. Milquetoast with zero self-esteem. He is a meter reader man who wouldn’t hesitate to give himself a parking ticket when faced with an angry motorist. Upon the advice of a friend, he enrols in a confidence-building class taught by Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton). His classmates are other grown men losers: a mama’s boy, a hen-pecked husband, a shy guy. Dr. P uses unconventional scary methods to unleash inhibitions, such as mock army battles with paint pistols. Roger learns quickly and becomes courageous enough to date Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). However, he is faced with unfair competition, namely none other than Dr. P, who also has a soft spot for Amanda. Roger wins out in the end, using a trick which is probably the most intelligent part of a silly film, full of slapstick and nonsense. It is based on a book by Stephen Potter, which became a play and a film, all in 1960 in Great Britain. Perhaps the original would be more worthwhile than this remake, where Heder and Thornton seem to be playing themselves in past roles, one frivolous-silly, and one mean-menacing. Good enough to watch while half asleep on a plane, since no brain power is required. (Becky Tan)

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