SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS
starring Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder, Jacinda Barrett, Luis Guzman
screenplay by Todd Phillips & Scot Armstrong
directed by Todd Phillips
starring Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Neal McDonough, Melissa Sagemiller
screenplay by Ron L. Brinkerhoff
directed by Andrew Davis
by Walter Chaw What the woefully, dreadfully, desperately unfunny School of Scoundrels has going for it is the casting of fetching Jacinda Barrett as the leading lady; what it squanders is the opportunity to present anything resembling intelligence or wit in favour of achingly uninsightful jabs at the gender rift and the presentation of idiot Jon Heder in exhibit, oh, about 'E' or 'F' by now, of how he has no known function. Billy Bob Thornton continues his blue W.C. Fields bit (next up, Mr. Woodcock), here as "Dr. P," the head of the titular finishing school that specializes in molding the losers and milquetoasts of the world into sunglasses-wearing assholes fond of comparing themselves to lions. His prize student is meter maid Roger (Heder), who, because the script demands it, transforms himself from a doofus into a doofus in a suit, finally mustering up the courage to ask out neighbour Amanda (Barrett). Inexplicably, she has all along been pining for this hermetic, feminized, saccharine troll--after all, what beautiful, smart, funny woman doesn't want to be dating someone with the looks of Napoleon Dynamite and the personality of a serial-killing child molester? Sarah Silverman is wasted (though given her track record, it could very well be that there's nothing left to waste) as Amanda's evil roommate, written with snarky commentary you'd think a perfect fit for her.