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Kids in America (PG-13)

Release Date: October 21st, 2005 (NYC-Village East Cinemas,Loews 34th St., and AMC Empire 25) by Slowhand Releasing.
The Cast: Gregory Smith, Stephanie Sherrin, Chris Morris, Caitlin Wachs, Emy Coligado, Crystal Celeste Grant, Alex Anfanger, Julie Bowen, Nichole Richie, Malik Yoba, Andrew Shaifer, Adam Arkin, Rosanna Arquette, Elizabeth Perkins.
Directed by Josh Stolberg.

BASIC PREMISE: After Holden (Smith) gets unrightfully expelled, his friends help him to rebel against their overly-strict principal (Bowen).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Holden, a rebellious student from the beginning, knows exactly how to push Principal Weller’s buttons. In a daring performance during a student show, he mocks her and then pretends to kill himself. Julie Bowen gives an exaggerated performance as the principal. She comes off as too tough and one-dimensional. However, her downfall is definitely fun to watch. It’s easy to dislike her because of how racist, prejudice, self-centered, and vicious she is. After Holden’s expulsion, the plot becomes redundant as other students find their own ways to help him and rebel. A subplot romance between him and Charlotte (Sherrin) doesn’t work because they have very little chemistry. However, there is an inventive scene where they re-enact classic kissing scenes from such as Say Anything—too bad they forgot about the classic kiss from Spider Man! The scenes that intend to be funny feel forced and awkward, like when dozens of kids kiss the same sex at the same time to prove that it’s no big deal. The plot tries too hard to be a comedy, drama, and romance all at once, but ultimately fails in each category.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: This film stands on the firm belief that freedom of speech and of expression are missing in the average school system. Wearing condoms in school to promote safe sex sounds like an interesting, creative idea, but the fact remains that there’s a time and a place for everything. Social norms bind our society, but what often the term “normal” is ambiguous. In a way, Principal Weller’s methods are fascist because she does not allow for anyone to disagree with her, even her co-workers. Ideally, everyone should have a right to speak up and voice their opinions without being afraid. This utopian world won’t be easily achieved, especially by a student rebellion. The methods used by the rebellious students in this film are far from being successful in reality—especially when they end up in jail for torching the school’s football field.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Redundant plot, one-dimensional characters, and over-acting.


THE BOTTOM LINE: An unworthy attempt of social satire mixed with comedy and romance. If you want a worthy attempt, rent the far superior Mean Girls or Ghost World.


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