Underclassman Marcos Siega

Underclassman Marcos Siega
Here's a novel thought for back to school: 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 actually being convincing. Worse, the whole film is made to hinge 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 talking the usual "you're not the cop your father was" talk and presiding over characters who blow stakeouts because they take dumps in the woods.

There isn't a single attractive shot or clever line in the entire thing. 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. (Alliance Atlantis)