"John Hughes' son wrote a high school drama! Wow!" I thought as I checked the flick's info here on IMDb, late on a Saturday night, having found myself watching the opening credits on BBC2.
I've just finished watching it, and sadly it was downhill from there on. Arguably you can't spoil a film this poor, but I'll leave the spoilers out of this review...
There's an awful lot of style over very little substance: unfortunately the style hasn't dated too well in the eight years since its release. As for the substance, the film tries to pose an interesting look at the nature of control in society through the microcosm of school-life; but beneath the shiny veneer, a remotely meaningful or relevant argument fails to materialise. Characters are painted in childishly broad strokes, falling into the kind of generic stereotypes the writer's father sought to question in Breakfast Club.
Director Kyle Cooper does a decent job keeping the pace up (perhaps relying a little too much on montages of information, which soon becomes a tiresome device, but at least pushes the story along), but his efforts don't sufficiently detract from the poor script and bizarre casting (how anyone is supposed to side with 'Maddox', when Blake Shields gurns and glowers his way through the part, I just can't understand), not to mention the numerous gaping plot holes (I'm all for creative license, but when the "bad guys" know the identities of the "good guys" making their lives a misery, but fail to act in any way to stop them, you really have to wonder why this script didn't undergo another few re-drafts before production - did Daddy even read it?).
I'm sure a younger audience might get some enjoyment from this film (and all power to them), but they're really better off sticking with Hughes Sr.'s high school output, and if the idea of school-time rebellion is what really appeals, the 1968 classic "If..." is a much more satisfying examination of the subject.
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