Review: 'School for Scoundrels'
Loosely based on a 1960 British comedy, this is a modest education-of-a-punching-bag entertainment with a kind of breezily rude compatibility _ a hallmark of sorts for both co-writer/director Todd Phillips ("Road Trip," "Starsky & Hutch") and the wonderful actor assigned to play the self-help instructor from hell,
Last year audiences responded merrily to a similar comic set-up, in which the adventures of
Needless to say, personality breakdown is inevitably more amusing than the confidence-building a happy ending requires, which means Thornton's villainous drill sergeant is the film's real laugh weapon. Heder's admittedly unique Ichabod Crane shtick may make him Hollywood's favorite new point-and-laugh target, but it's the "Sling Blade" actor's emergence in recent years as a comedy star, playing hilariously brittle, insult-wielding satyrs in sardonic corkers such as "Bad Santa" and "The Bad News Bears" that's become the real master seminar in scoundrel-hood. In fact, that's arguably the biggest problem with the taste-of-his-own-medicine story line: in a Heder/Thornton matchup, you're not altogether sure you want to see teach lose.