Art School Confidential Terry Zwigoff

By all rights, Art School Confidential shouldn’t be much. The filmmakers — director Terry Zwigoff and writer/comic artist Daniel Clowes — had initially annoyed me with the wildly overrated Ghost World, and their latest is a return to the same adolescent, "everybody’s a jerk but me” cynicism. Of course, Max Minghella’s representational art naïf will be swamped by phonies in the art school milieu, of course he’ll fall for a life class model (Sophia Myles) who won’t fall for him back and of course the faculty will be represented by hilarious conceptual art cretin John Malkovich and his paintings of triangles. And naturally, the font of wisdom turns out to be embittered disappointment Jim Broadbent, whose alcoholic ramblings are just the sort of Bukowskian bull that makes sweet innocents feel edgy. In fact, the whole thing is rather cheap but in this case, that cheapness proves strangely and satisfyingly funny. Perhaps it’s my past proximity to pretentious undergraduates (Ethan Suplee’s hostile film student is especially on the money) but the idea of watching various fraudulent young people fail to be artists somehow struck me as hilarious. Under no circumstances should this be taken as an endorsement of the film’s point of view, which predictably blames the world for its own failure to break out of its shell but unlike Ghost World, it’s got a creative structure that turns gratifyingly contemptuous in its final witty movement. The whole thing is fairly childish but doesn’t everybody need a holiday from being an adult? Extras include a short but decent "making of” doc, a second equally fine featurette on the Sundance premiere, 12 deleted scenes, one extended scene and a blooper reel. (Sony)