In order to win the heart of the girl down the hall (Jacinda Barrett), a shy meter maid (Jon Heder) enrolls in a confidence-building class taught by a mysterious man's-man (Billy Bob Thornton). Eventually, teach has the hots for his pupil's girl. The film is loosely based on the 1960 British flick, "School for Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating!"
Big question: Can director/co-writer Todd Phillips ("Old School," "Road Trip") deliver another frat boy favorite?
Skip it: "School for Scoundrels" is not as casually watchable as "Old School" and "Road Trip," and Phillips is way out of his league trying to turn his latest into a romantic comedy. Obvious similarities to "Hitch" and "Rushmore" might be excusable if the film had more laughs and didn't equate personal strength with nastiness.
Catch it: Think scenes of someone stuffing Jell-o in an old man's face or spray-painting a dog is comic gold? What do you consider bronze?
Bottom line: It seems like Phillips and co-writer Scot Armstrong spent no more than five minutes coming up with the consistently lazy jokes in "School for Scoundrels." If you're amused by Diego (Horatio Sanz) being told to "stop scratching your nuts," you probably just need to stop scratching yours.
Bonus: Where else can you see the hulking Michael Clarke Duncan ("Sin City," "The Green Mile") in drag?
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
'School for Scoundrels'
Directed by Todd Phillips; screenplay by Phillips and Scott Armstrong; music by Christophe Beck; produced by Phillips, Daniel Goldberg and J. Geyer Kosinski. An MGM and Dimension Films release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:41. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for language, crude and sexual content, and some violence).
Dr. P. - Billy Bob Thornton
Roger - Jon Heder
Amanda - Jacinda Barrett
Lesher - Michael Clarke DuncanCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times