KICKIN’ IT OLD SKOOL (2007)
Starring Jamie Kennedy, Maria Menounos, Miguel A. Nuñez Jr., Michael Rosenbaum, Christopher McDonald, Debra Jo Rupp, Bobby Lee, Aris Alvarado, Vivica A. Fox, Alan Ruck, Emmanuel Lewis and David Hasselhoff.
Screenplay by Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan and Phillip Glasser.
Directed by Harvey Glazer.
Distributed by Yari Film Group Releasing. 107 minutes. Rated PG-13.
This is the second time in a few years in which Jamie Kennedy has made a movie about a nerdy white guy who obsessively believes that he can make it in the world of hip-hop.
This one is not as good as Malibu’s Most Wanted – which was no masterpiece in itself. The whole idea of the dorky white dude who thinks he has rhythm has been kind of played out for a long time – which I also pointed out in my review of Malibu’s four years ago. Perhaps because of this, the filmmakers try to mix things up with a complicated if kind of unbelievable high concept, adding 80s nostalgia to the mix.
Kennedy plays Justin. In a short 1986 prologue we see him as a 12-year-old break-dancer who is trying to win over the sixth-grade hottie named Jen with a Garbage Pail Kids sticker. However, in a breakdance-off with another jerky boy named Kip who is also interested in the same girl, Justin goes overboard, falls on his head and goes into a coma for twenty years.
Sounds funny so far, right? Massive head-wounds are always a big crowd-pleaser.
When he finally comes out of the coma, he is a twelve-year-old boy in a man’s body. Sort of like Big without the subtle acting and feelings but adding fish-out-of-water futuristic aspects.
Justin still wears his old 80s clothes – though you wonder how they fit. You’ve got to assume that even in a coma, he may have grown a little in the years from twelve to his early thirties.
While Justin tries to come to terms with the new millennium he happens upon Jen, who by strange coincidence is now the choreographer of a popular cable series which is essentially the American Bandstand of breakdancing. Because, you know, breakdancing is still popular apparently in this fantasy world – though I personally haven’t seen it done since the 80s. Complicating things more is the fact that jerky Kip is the host of the show. And Kip is engaged to Jen!
The show is having a dance-off which will pay the winner $100,000 (for breakdancing???). This will pay off all the hospital bills Justin’s parents have accrued over 20 years of coma-life and save their home. So, Justin goes out in search of his old posse, who luckily are losers who never moved on with their lives or found important jobs which would take up their days. So, despite the fact that they are old, out of practice and out of shape, they set their sights on beating out the young, hip, cutting-edge breakdance troupes. (Again, we are talking about breakdancing here, right???)
So, it’s not exactly Citizen Kane. It’s not even Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
On the plus side, some of the 80s nostalgia stuff is pretty funny (particularly for someone who grew up during the decade). There are some funny parachute pants jokes (though if you get technical, Justin went into the coma three years pre-MC Hammer.) I particularly liked Justin’s disappointed reaction to the new music-free MTV: “It’s just a bunch of girls talking and crying!” There is also a kind of sweet – if highly unlikely – love story between Kennedy’s man-child and the gorgeous Maria Menounos.
However, in order to get to the very few good points, you really have to sit through a whole lot of crap. It’s swine before pearls time here.
To give you an idea of the level of humor on display here, there is a running gag in which a homeless person falls down and urinates himself. It is shown very graphically. Not once. Not even twice. But no less than three times during the running time of the film. (If it was used more than three, my mind is mercifully blocking it out.)
This is not the only example of mean and disgusting humor. There are also scenes where Kennedy squeezes a chocolate cake to make it look like poop and where a group of guys take turns feeling up a fat friend’s “man boobs.” And don’t even get me started about the extremely sleazy cameo by David Hasselhoff.
You really have to wonder – who was this movie written for? The immature preteen kids who will eat up all the toilet humor won’t get Smurf references and Emmanuel Lewis cameos. Most adults will feel slightly dirty from all of the fart jokes and will never buy into the broad caricatures which are being paraded around as characters.
The only type of person I can think of who would buy into all the disjointed aspects of Kickin’ It Old School would be a kid who went into a coma in the 80s and woke up today. Hmmm… I wonder if that will be good for the box office?
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 19, 2007.