From director Steve “give me your money already” Carr comes another hit classic in the hip teen movie vault. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid but with the intelligence of a Paul Blart: Mall Cop screenwriter. Its sad to think that so many talented people never make it in the film industry, but bozos like this stick around like wallet hungry parasites for years.
This film is based on a novel by James Patterson, about a troublemaker boy named Rafe (Griffin Gluck) trying to adjust to a new school. He has to deal with a strict authoritarian school, as well as his mom’s mean boyfriend Carl (Rob Riggle). The film follows him on his adventures to rebel against the school system.
The message in Middle School is as blatantly obvious as it gets because, they say it right to your face. Standardized testing is bad, kids should be allowed to express themselves, listen to your kids. The same boring message that many films use time and time again. I knew that this was going to be the message of the film five minutes in, and I was absolutely right.
The side plot is resolved at the end in a shockingly bad way. I won’t give it away for the few people who would ever watch it, but Rob Riggle and Lauren Graham totally phone it in. My jaw actually dropped at how lazily the climax to the side plot was written and executed. It reminded me a lot of the movie Cat in the Hat. And everyone knows just how great that was!
The few good things about the movie were as follows:
- There was a cute Pug in the movie
- There were some nicely animated scenes that went along with Rafe’s imagination
- There were (at times) touching scenes involving coping with the loss of a family member, but even that was handled badly.
This film was so bad that before it was even half way over, an elderly couple in front of me continuously checked the time on their phone. I couldn’t help but do the same.
Mostly because many scenes in Middle School were completely pointless. Any time I saw Rob Riggle on screen I knew it was going to be a stupid, nonsensical, and all around pointless scene. I usually think Rob Riggle is a pretty good actor, but he really bugged me in this movie.
I guess I can’t really put much blame on the actors, either than blame them for picking a stupid film to be in. They mostly do their best with what they’re given and I totally respect them for that. The child actors weren’t bad (except for a few), which was a real surprise for me.
Those that should be blamed are the orangutan filmmakers who keep making this crap. These kinds of movies are everything I really hate about cinema and filmmakers. People who make the same passionless crap over and over again. They try nothing new, and they don’t attempt to make the movie funny or clever. They assume that audiences full of teenagers aren’t intelligent enough for an intelligent flick. Well I can say from first hand experience that teenagers are much smarter than the people who made this.
This film is a lot of things. But being good, or even entertaining, is not its forte. I cannot willingly recommend this film to anyone. If you have seen previews for it and thought Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life looked interesting, go for it. It’s a respectable decision and this is only my opinion. However for me, I think it was a pile of crap.