General Education Tom Morris

General Education Tom Morris
1
A fart in a windstorm would leave more of a lasting impression than this abysmal assemblage of empty-headed clichés. Tom Morris's first full-length film is so remarkably bland and derivative that were someone to set out specifically to create the most forgettable movie possible, it would still be more memorable than General Education. The exceedingly desultory plot is this: Levi Collins (Chris Sheffield) is a lazy, spoiled imbecile who's offered an athletic scholarship for his largely untested tennis skills, but after failing to graduate, he secretly enrols in summer school to avoid telling his controlling father the bad news. This is only after a couple of tepid attempts to alter his grade via more nefarious means. Not that any of those attempts really make it past the planning phase; the trio of writers responsible for microwaving this repeatedly rehashed story are as lazy as their creation. In a series of weak bids to animate this fetid corpse of a story, Levi has a few cardboard cut-out buddies who fancy themselves party animals because they light up a few illegal fireworks and plan a trip to Mexico. This conveniently removes them from the bulk of the picture, making way for the inane parade of stock misfits and losers populating his summer school class, except for the cute girl, of course, who he obviously has to woo and then alienate so that there can be a forced reconciliation on his way to "finding himself." Thematically, it's the typical claptrap about a father vicariously living through his son at the expense of the members of his affluent family's happiness and individuality. Re-treading common themes and recycling obvious plot points is one thing, but mind-numbing insipidness is quite another. Poor pronunciation of simple names and comments like "nice ascot" to a creepy, homosexual, Indian tennis scout are the types of thoughtlessness that pass for humour in this should-be landfill fodder. The less said about Levi's "amazing," irony-free "discovery" of bio-diesel the better. Within the bonus content, poor Janeane Garofalo criticizing Larry Miller's acting is funnier than anything in the feature, as are the earnest assertions from all of the young cast members that they're honoured to be a part of something so "special and unique" in the "Making Of." A commentary track with all three writers (you'd think at least one of them would have been able to muster a single funny line or idea), including director Tom Morris and, for reasons unknown, the re-recording mixer, is as frustratingly senseless and uninteresting as expected from a team who'd waste their lives on a project this pointless. (Anchor Bay)