Movie Review: ‘School for Scoundrels’ grades a D at best

Though director Todd Phillips’ previous films (Road TripOld SchoolStarsky & Hutch) are far from classics, they at least provided a few laughs and some likable characters. His latest, School for Scoundrels, provides neither.

Jon Heder stars as an inadequate, unlucky meter maid who enrolls in a confidence-building class taught by a sleazy Billy Bob Thornton; as Heder begins to succeed in the class, a bizarre competition is forged between him and Thornton´s ‘Dr. P´.

Maddeningly dull, with nary a chuckle to be found – but this could be somewhat forgivable if not for the inexplicable decision to cast Napoleon Dynamite as a romantic lead. In no way, shape, or form do we want this demented oddball to get together with Jacinda Barrett; scenes between the two of them are squirm-inducing. An almost unrecognizable Ben Stiller shows up late in an unfunny cameo.

Remake of the 1960 UK film School for Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating!, itself based on Stephen Potter´s novel of the same name; Phillip´s version is only an embarrassment to both.

Half a star for Billy Bob´s effortless used-car salesman charisma.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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