Assassination of a High School President – DVD Review


Bruce Willis has been in Die Hard, Pulp Fiction and Twelve Monkeys; sure he’s been in some bad films too, but it just made me sad to see him struggle through this pathetic attempt at what some might call a film.

Sophomore dork, Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) wants to write for the school paper, so when the SAT exams are stolen he digs deep and finds out that the school president was behind it. But after the president is expelled and the most popular girl in school, Francesca (Mischa Barton) starts dating him, Funke begins to realize there may be more to the story than he originally thought. The former prez may be innocent after all.

Besides the stupid story, the bad script and the mediocre acting across the board (save Willis), the biggest problem with this film is that it seems to be trying way too hard. It’s supposed to be some sort of dark comic noir type film, perhaps a little like Brick, but it manages to fail in every way. And all the big reveal at the end is bound to evoke out of you is a big yawn.

And as if the rest of the film wasn’t painful and contrived enough it ends with this line: “Forget it Funke, it’s High School.” Honestly, I almost pulled the DVD out of the player and through it out the window.

The characters are flat, uninteresting and typical high school caricatures and you don’t really care what happens to anyone. Funke is a terrible main character and having to listen to his voice over through the whole film is really annoying. And Barton’s “Femme Fatale” is as thin and transparent as tracing paper.

The only remotely entertaining part of this film is Willis as the hard ass Principal Kirkpatrick who also happens to be a Military Veteran. His lines are pretty ridiculous but Willis runs with them 110%.

The film is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. The film is pretty competently put together and it looks and sounds fine.

Filmmaker Commentary: The director and the writers talk on and on about the movie. Very typical commentary stuff. Very typically boring.

Alternate Opening Scenes with Optional Commentary: (6 min.) You get two of these. You understand why they were cut and you don’t need the commentary to figure that out.

Extended and Alternate with Optional Commentary: (20 min.) You get a whole lot of these. Again, it’s easy to see why these scenes were shortened. And again the commentary is a total waste of time.

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary: (6 min.) Wow, I really hate sounding like a broken record.

Assassination of a High School President was just painful to sit through. I’ve seen it written elsewhere how this film will become a “cult classic.” I seriously doubt it.

Sony Pictures presents Assassination of a High School President. Directed by Brett Simon. Written by Tim Calpin & Kevin Jakubowski. Starring Mischa Barton, Reece Thompson and Bruce Willis. Running time: 93 minutes. Rated R for sexual content, some nudity, language and drug and alcohol use – all involving teens. Released on DVD: October 6, 2009.

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