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Underclassman

Marcos Siega

Underclassman
Here's a novel concept: an action-comedy that isn't very active or even slightly funny. Nick Cannon stars as a bike cop with the obligatory bad attitude — despite his less-than-spotless record, he's sent undercover at a private school to bust a stolen car ring. But all that is icing on the stale and flavourless cake of Cannon, who does his best to tell astoundingly lame jokes, ogle the female students and act tough without ever being convincing. The whole film hinges on his charisma-free presence, meaning he has to shoulder a cliché-ridden script and a listless directing job as well as his own limitations, and he's just not interesting enough to save it. By way of distraction, the filmmakers offer the neat trick of attacking white assumptions while offering a stereotypical hero (like every other young black movie hero he's a savant at basketball), a hottie teacher love interest who's a strong presence until she has to become the damsel in distress, and some of the most tired and artless police station banter in the history of the cop movie genre. Nice though it is to see Cheech Marin getting some work (and funny, considering his past career, to see him playing a police chief), it would have been nicer to give him something to do besides the usual "you're not the cop your father was" blather and presiding over detectives who blow stakeouts by taking dumps in the woods. Unless you're a diehard fan of the lead or very easily amused (is that redundant?), you'll find it the longest 90 minutes of your life. Extras include a genial but insight-free commentary by director Marcos Siega and writers David T. Wagner and Brent Goldberg, ten deleted scenes with director/writer commentary, the usual brief "we're all great to work with" "making of" and cast auditions. (Alliance Atlantis)
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