DVD Review: School for Scoundrels (Unrated Widescreen Edition)
Release Date: February 13, 2007
Distributor: Weinstein Company
· Todd Phillips
· Jon Heder
· Billy Bob Thornton
· Sarah Silverman
· Michael Clarke Duncan
· Ben Stiller
· IMDb: School for Scoundrels
by R.J. Carter
Published: February 13, 2007
Jon Heder plays a character who's only slightly a stretch away from Heder's other characters in this romantic comedy for men. Roger (Heder) is a metermaid with a collection of self-help books and a mountain of anxieties. He also has a crush on his neighbor down the hall, the Aussie Amanda (Jacinda Barrett), but he usually collapses in panic attacks before spitting out the words to ask her out.
When even his little brother through the Big Brothers program dumps him, Roger's friend puts him in touch with the mysterious Dr. P. Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton) runs a class just for people like Roger, in which he takes them from milquetoasts to manly-men. Assisted by his no-guff partner, Lesher (Michael Clarke Duncan), he runs Jon and the others through some grueling experiences to bring out the lion in each of them.
After a few classes, Roger actually begins to excel -- even managing to take down Lesher in a paintball tournament -- which brings him to the good doctor's attention. It seems that in each class, there's always one bright shining star who outpaces the rest. These students Dr. P. singles out for special humiliation, to convince himself and his student that he's still the master of the game. Roger learns that in a former class, he completely destroyed one guy, taking his girlfriend to Miami and utterly crushing the man's life.
But that wouldn't happen to Roger, surely? Not good old Rog! Dr. P. likes him. And then Roger comes upon Dr. P. sharing a friendly lunch with Amanda, whom he's convinced that he's a widowered surgeon... and it's game on!
The potshots back and forth, starting with Roger showing up unannounced at a friendly game of tennis and getting in his hits on Dr. P. In retaliation, Dr. P. has some of the other students break into Amanda's apartment and vandalize it, making Roger out to look like the stalker type that Amanda's roommate, Becky (Sarah Silverman) always thought him to be. Roger retaliates by having Dr. P.'s car towed. And back and forth it goes, until Roger decides he needs to seek out the last man Dr. P. took down, a lonely cat man named Lonnie (Ben Stiller), whom he recruits in his war to finally put the doctor out of business for good.
Court Competition. Dr. P and Roger shake before settling
scores. (L-R: Billy Bob Thornton, Jacinda Barrett, Jon Heder)
This unrated edition didn't have any scenes that jumped out at me as being something beyond the PG-13 rating the theatrical release sported, and I actually found that this was a fun and enjoyable flick as I rooted for Roger and his friends to finally give Dr. P. his inevitable comeuppance. For his part, Thornton really plays up the incorrigible conman role, and Barret, with her young Kathy Garver looks, could have used a bit more screen time, usually being overshadowed and overacted by Silverman.
Special Features on this release, in addition to the running commentary with writer/director Todd Phillips and writer Scot Armstrong, include a four-minute alternate ending which was a real departure from the original. There's also a twenty minute featurette, "The Making Of You Didn't See On TV", the best part of which was seeing Thornton and Heder improv a scenario that was "Sling Blade" meets "Napoleon Dynamite", and a two minute gag reel of outtakes.
Audio is in English only, with captions in English or Spanish.
Previews on this disc include "Fan Boys", "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker", and "Scary Movie 4"