Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thoughts on Assassination of a High School President

(Russian posters are so much cooler)

-Bobby Funke (pronounced either Funk by himself or Funky by everyone else, at one point he corrects a guy on the pronunciation, and the guy just says 'No it isn't'. And that was that) is an ambitious wannabe journalist, with dreams of getting into a prestigious journalism program, despite having never finished an article for his paper. Editor-in-chief Clara (Melonie Diaz, who keeps popping up as second banana in these quasi-independent comedies, and frankly deserves a vehicle) gives him an assignement: an article on Paul Moore, student body president (as opposed to class president, which means exactly jack shit). After it is revealed that Paul apparently stole the SATs, Bobby finds himself in the noir his inner monolgue would suggest.

-It's like Brick with Rushmore and some Chinatown, if we must play that game.

-Mischa Barton is surprisingly tolerable as femme fatale Francesca, former girlfriend of Paul, love interest of Bobby (oh, yawn), and step-sister of new SBP Marlon Piazza, who Bobby keeps trying to talk to, only to be rebuffed by him and his little posse. Somewhat captivating, sometimes stilted, but overall, not bad at all.

-Reece Thompsan is convincing as the nerd with delusions of grandeur, making some of the contrived, hardboiled analogies work. He doesn't get beat up nearly enough, though.

-Like I said, Melonie Diaz is the unsung hero of many an indie. Zoe Kravitz gets in a decent turn in one scene, as the secret girlfriend of Paul, from a *horror!* public school. Kathryn Morris, who's on some show my mom digs, is kind of brilliant as a spacey school nurse.

-And, of course, Bruce Willis. The movie's fine until he shows up. Then it reaches a scale of awesome not seen since, I don't know, the moon landing. Or whatever. As the Desert Storm-veteran Principal Kirkpatrick, who will absolutely not tolerate any gum-related activities, guys, he is so bloody intense it's not even funny. Except it is. Wait.

-The plot could use some work. They take characters set up as Very Important, then drop them somewhere else so they can silently be a plot device, some of the dialogue is painful, some of the performances ridiculous. But most of the acting it spot-on brilliant, especially from bit players, and for the most part, the script will soldier on, and even if it's not the next great high school comedy, it gets the job done.

-Right. I love it when people call other people vaginas. Cutting the bullshit, slang, and innuendo, and you'll know they're serious. You must, indeed, be a vagina.