×

Kickin’ It Old Skool

Though "crude and sexual content and language" may be the reason "Kickin' It Old Skool" earned a PG-13, it's also the reason that rating might as well be interpreted here as "pretty good" (but only if you're 13). Anyone older who gets more than chortle or two out of this lame effort needs maturing even worse than star Jamie Kennedy's stalled-pubescent character, who wakes from a two-decade coma.

With:
Justin Schumacher - Jamie Kennedy Darnell - Miguel A. Nunez Jr. Jennifer - Maria Menounos Kip - Michael Rosenbaum Aki - Bobby Lee Hector - Aris Alvarado Sylvia Schumacher - Debra Jo Rupp Marty Schumacher - Christopher McDonald Roxanne - Vivica A. Fox Young Justin - Alexander Calvert

Though “crude and sexual content and language” may be the reason “Kickin’ It Old Skool” earned a PG-13, it’s also the reason that rating might as well be interpreted here as “pretty good” (but only if you’re 13). Anyone older who gets more than chortle or two out of this lame effort needs maturing even worse than star Jamie Kennedy’s stalled-pubescent character, who wakes from a two-decade coma. An inauspicious feature debut for director Harv Glazer and all three scenarists, the “Big”-meets-breakdancing comedy will be kickin’ it to ancillary by swimsuit season.

Justin (Kennedy) is a 12-year-old Valley boy who’s the hit of his 1986 school talent show until a showy backflip lands him offstage, on his head. Twenty years later, the sound of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” from a passing iPod rouses him, to the amazement of his parents (Debra Jo Rupp, Christopher McDonald), who were just about to pull the plug on him.

Discovering they are nearly bankrupt after all these years of paying for his hospital care, Justin decides he must pay them back the only way his child’s-mind-in-a-30-year-old-body can conceive: entering “Get 2 Steppin,’ ” a televised dance contest that has a $100,000 prize.

First he has to reassemble his multiracial “Funky Fresh Boyz” of yore, none of whom are very funky or fresh anymore: Darnell (Miguel A. Nunez Jr.) is a toy store clerk with too many kids and a shrilly dissatisfied wife (Vivica A. Fox). Hector (Avis Alvarado) is a meter “maid,” and Aki (Bobby Lee), a corporate cubicle dweeb.

Jen (Maria Menounos), the girl Justin liked before he took a long brain holiday, is now a dance instructor engaged to Kip (Michael Rosenbaum), who was a little jerk back then and is a big one now. He also happens to be the host of the dance contest.

There’s no prize for guessing where this is all headed. Even brief guest appearances by ’80s icons like David Hasselhoff and Emmanuel Lewis offer no more than rote “Ha ha, I remember that” yoks, over-applied in references to the era’s videogames, action figures, etc. “Skool” could have at least milked the ’80s angle for some stylistic humor, but there ain’t much style here.

Formulaic by nature, pic suffers in comparison to Kennedy’s own underrated 2003 vehicle “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” where he played a wannabe white rapper. Nor does “Skool” have any of the wit of the current “Blades of Glory” in parodying underdog triumph or pop-dance cliches — the latter a particular disappointment, given that it actually went to the trouble of hiring Shabba-Doo as choreographer. Usual frenetic musicvid cutting doesn’t allow full appreciation of the real dancers’ moves here, notably those of freestyling champ Jesse “Casper” Brown.

Instead, the movie has jokes involving racial stereotypes, pee, barfing, oversized bared buns, the homeless, mental and physical disability, use of the words “fag” and “homo” — oh wait, those last aren’t jokes, just regular dialogue.As TV’s “Jamie Kennedy Experiment,” “Malibu’s Most Wanted” and a few other showcases have demonstrated, topliner is a gifted and versatile comic, but material like this isn’t going to do him any favors.Expected mother lode of soundtracked dance cuts aside, the production is just serviceable in all departments.

Popular on Variety

Kickin' It Old Skool

Production: A Yari Film Group release of a Jizzy Entertainment production in association with Hi-Def Entertainment. Produced by Philip Glasser, John J. Hermansen, Jamie Kennedy, Bob Yari. Executive producers, Jeff Cooper, Jeffrey Cooper, Josh H. Etting, Paul C. Rogers, Scott G. Stone, Stuart Stone. Directed by Harv Glazer. Screenplay, Trace Slobotkin, Josh Siegal, Dylan Morgan.

Crew: Camera (color), Robert M. Stephens; editor, Sandy S. Solowitz; music, Richard Glasser; production designer, Tink; art director, Chelsea Yusep; set decorators, David Manske, Martin Davies, Jamie Tardif, Aljosa Petkovic; costume designer, Maria Livingstone; sound (Dolby Digital), John Boyle; special effects coordinator, Brant McIlroy; stunt coordinator, Dan Redford; choreographer, Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones; assistant director, Blair Roth; casting, Roe Baker, Susan Taylor Brouse, Lynne Carrow. Reviewed at AMC Loews Metreon, San Francisco, April 27, 2007. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 108 MIN.

With: Justin Schumacher - Jamie Kennedy Darnell - Miguel A. Nunez Jr. Jennifer - Maria Menounos Kip - Michael Rosenbaum Aki - Bobby Lee Hector - Aris Alvarado Sylvia Schumacher - Debra Jo Rupp Marty Schumacher - Christopher McDonald Roxanne - Vivica A. Fox Young Justin - Alexander CalvertWith: Jesse "Casper" Brown, Erik Estrada, David Hasselhoff, John Ratzenberger, Emmanuel Lewis, Roddy Piper.

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content