Who said there’s nothing left to do with high school comedies?
Rated R | Review date: 10-Oct-2009
Up and coming director Brett Simon’s Assassination of a High School President takes the high school comedy to a whole new level. It provides a take on neo-noir detective films mixed with classic high school situations and humor. The story is partially narrated by Sophomore school newspaper reporter and all-around nobody Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson; Rocket Science) as he attempts to write a groundbreaking story to rock the Catholic high school as well as to earn a summer scholarship at Northwestern University. His story begins to write itself as a disappearance of the school’s SAT exams occurs, stirring a slew of high school conspiracies.
Funke becomes enamored with his primary suspect’s ex, and school hottie, Francesca (Mischa Barton; The O.C.) while investigating the crime. The two become somewhat involved, boosting the little guy’s confidence and popularity. Nothing can stop the Woodward & Bernstein-inspired sleuth, that is until his original story begins to fall apart. This is where the film truly begins and hilarity ensues.
Thompson resumes the role of the loner seeking admiration and respect from his classmates, almost identical of that of his character in Rocket Science (minus the stuttering). He plays this type of role quite well, while giving each character its own identity. Funke (aka Funky) with his idiosyncratic speak and fondness of the female form, is a slightly ignorant yet lovable character. His innocence and persistence are admirable and hilarious. Mischa Barton suits her role perfectly as well, playing the sexy and popular girl with a bit of bitchiness to her. The principal, a borderline insane war veteran played by Bruce Willis, was one of the most comedic characters. Overall the casting was great and the characters were diverse and all offered plenty of laugh out loud moments.
One of the standout elements of this picture was the soundtrack, composed of great indie tracks from bands like Band of Horses, Goldfrapp, and Stellastarr. The cinematography and set designs were exceptional as well; with some great scenes especially within the enormous and beautiful school building. This film was very nicely put together and provides sure evidence that high school themed movies are not dead. The film stands firmly next to its contemporaries, drawing similarities from other greats such as Brick, Charlie Bartlett, and Rocket Science. Dubious viewers need not worry, in the modern trend of nonsense, flesh baring high school party comedies, we still have some extraordinary and original pieces like Assassination of a High School President to deal us a nice dose of refreshment.
In the end the film’s take on high school experiences and troubles are realistic, at the same time intentionally exaggerated and presented in a satirical manner. The film is non stop funny, engaging, and simply well written and put together. It’s a shame the film has gone straight to video, but let that not be an indicator of it being anything less than brilliant.
Rating: 7 out of 7