1 star (out of four)
You've got to have a lot of moxie to call your own movie "Full of It," especially when it's as bad as the low-grade teen comedy currently bearing that title. A wish fulfillment fantasy of staggering silliness, both smirkingly cutesy and gratingly offensive, this is one for the movie ash heap. Watching it, your heart goes out to the actors, floundering through the cliches and trying to amuse us with this frazzled cautionary tale of the dangers of falsehood.
On hand for most of the floundering is the youthful star Ryan Pinkston as pint-sized high school senior Sam Leonard, newly arrived at a school whose mascots are the "Awesome Possums." Dropped off by his parents (John Carroll Lynch and Cynthia Stevenson)--a melodious pair whose favorite pastimes include group sing-alongs of the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B"--Sam is faced with hostile bullies, an indifferent school belle (Vicki Sanders) and a gushing principal (Derek McGrath).
Alienated from everybody except his instant best friend, Annie Dray (Kate Mara), Sam drops in on the school's diffident and highly cynical guidance counselor Mike Hanbo (played by ex-late night talk show host Craig Kilborn), who advises him to win friends by lying unashamedly. Unfortunately, the movie's quartet of writers and story crafters have settled on a gimmick where all Sam's lies will come true.
And so they do. Sam's unhip dad really becomes a famous rock star. Sam really is an irresistible lady-killer. The school belle, as well as a torrid blond teacher--Teri Polo as Mrs. Moran--really are madly in love with him. So is Carmen Electra (played by herself). Despite Sam's diminutive stature, he really is a dead-eye basketball point guard who never misses a shot--even if he throws it up backwards from midcourt or bounces the ball off the referee. He really has a flaming red Porsche. And his dog really does eat his homework, over and over.
Couldn't the dog have eaten this script instead? Eventually, Sam discovers that honesty is the best policy and Annie is the right girlfriend, something we tumbled to after several seconds. But not before putting us through this wringer of this movie, with its jukebox color scheme and its inane plot, where the only thing to look forward to is yet another reprise of "Sloop John B." "Full of It" is right.
'Full of It'
Directed by Christian Charles; written by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore; photographed by Kramer Morgenthau; edited by Susan Shipton; production designed by Kathleen Climie; music by John Swihart; produced by Steve Barnett, Mark Canton. A New Line release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:33. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, drug references, teen partying and crude humor).
Sam Leonard - Ryan Pinkston
Annie Dray - Kate Mara
Mrs. Moran - Teri Polo
Mike Hanbo - Craig Kilborn
Mr. Leonard - John Carroll Lynch
Mrs. Leonard - Cynthia Stevenson