Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

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Rafe Khatchadorian, who has enough problems, seeing as his mom has a sleazy boyfriend and he has an annoying sister, is transferring to a school with a principal, Ken Dwight, that’s overtly strict and obsessed with test scores. To get through this time, as he has done through hard times before, he sticks to his art, drawing an extensive series of sketches in a massive sketchbook. However, one day, an unflattering comic of the principal comes to the principals attention, resulting in his entire sketchbook being disposed of in acid. Rafe decides that he needs to get even, and seeing as how Dwight got rid of his book, Rafe decides to get rid of Dwight’s book, his rule book, putting a plan in motion to break every rule in the book.

***

For the most part this film is very lacking. The kids are somewhat interesting, but the plot is somewhat haphazard and random, with characters having completely unexpected and undeveloped changes of heart. With one major exception nothing really connects. Now, it is quite funny, as the pranks are ridiculous. For example, the post it notes were amazing, as were the others. Some other humor didn’t really connect with me, like the description of VHS tapes, which I suppose I’m too old for. There’s also an issue in that most of the kids aren’t that great actors, which makes sense as they’re kids I suppose, but some lines are delivered really awkwardly. On the other hand, the comic scenes were pretty unique and very well done. Now the one plot point that really connected to me, and hence felt like the core despite not being what the film spent most of its time developing was everything related to Leo. I did not expect that at all, in part due to context. But once its revealed, everything makes sense. And it makes the scenes with the letter and and the ending have a very strong emotional impact despite the rest of the film having very little. Based just on how it sounds, the twist actually sounds really dumb, but I really liked it.

A film that has some issues in terms of quality but has a few things that it manages to do well.

7/10

GRAKTUNG!

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