Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Overlooked Film of the Week- Detention (2012)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #23

A movie's style or story-structure has never effected my viewing of a movie in a positive or negative way. As long as the movie makes sense on its own terms and it tells its story well, I am game for it. How chaotic or overly-stylish a movie is has never had an effect on me. The average viewer would take one look at "Detention" and be bewildered for a good two hours. But trust me when I say that it doesn't mean there isn't something there. There is a great, entertaining and fun story under all the delirium.

"Detention" is a big mixture between "The Breakfast Club," "Back to the Future," "The Fly" and "Scream" but set in Scott Pilgrim type universe. Everybody talks like a hipster and there is dialogue that I think is meant to make you roll your eyes and laugh. "Detention" follows a group of high schoolers who get themselves put in detention during their senior prom, we mainly follow Riley (Shanley Cowell) a nerd who has a crush on the popular Clapton (Josh Hutcherson). Their adventure together may help save the world for its ending. All this happens while UFO's cloud the skies, all the popular girls are getting killed by a masked murderer, you can time travel by way of mechanical bear and the football quarterback is turning into a fly. Its a very weird movie, but it is also so confident with itself that it is hard to resist.

Part of what makes the film work is the chemistry and work between Cowell and Hutcherson, they really sell the absurdities of the film and they deserve much credit. Cowell in particular is a real discovery and Hutcherson continues to prove why he is one of the best actors of his generation. The cast is full of an entire unknown cast of young actors, all doing well with their material. The only other recognizable actor is Dane Cook, playing the principle of the school Clapton and Riley attend. He's not in it very much, but he makes his scenes work, definitely the best thing of his career, movie-wise.

The other great part to this movie is how well director Joseph Kahn plays with genre cliches and conventions. As the audience, Kahn allows you to tap into the conventions of horror as well as 1980's and 1990's nostalgia. Kahn is able to pack a lot of fun into a particularly small running time which is a pretty remarkable feat. 

No matter what type of movies you like, "Detention" is absolutely worth seeing.

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