Art School Confidential



Cynical and raunchy comedy for adults only.
  • Review Date: November 29, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This dark comedy revels in its anti-happy ending: that to get anywhere in the art business -- and to get the girl -- you have to go to jail for something you didn't do.


A serial killer is stalking the school, though the one murder depicted is shown in an over-the-top comic way that's not frightening. When a student is arrested, a cop warns about future rapes by inmates. One character dies in a fire off-screen.


A lot of raunchy discussions of sex, though no actual sex happens. A father looks up the skirt of another young girl. A man poses naked in a live drawing class, and his penis is plainly visible. Audrey poses nude for the same class. When Jerome says he just had a date with his perfect girl, his roommate asks to smell his fingers. There's one lesbian kiss.


Extensive swearing by everyone in the film, including "s--t," "f--k," "p---y," "faggot," "c--ksucker," "c--t," and "a--hole."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Jerome is a chain-smoker by the end of the film. Audrey also smokes. Jimmy is an alcoholic, and Jerome and Jimmy drink together often.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the extensive swearing and raunchy discussion of sex make this a film for adults only. Plus, a serial killer is stalking the school and everyone smokes and drinks heavily. Parents should also know that women are treated as virginal, crazy, or pieces of meat in this film, so if girls do watch it, parents might want to discuss the portrayal of women afterwards.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) has always wanted to be an artist, mostly because, as he said in an elementary school class, artists like Pablo Picasso are "able to have sex with any beautiful woman [they] want just because [they're] so great." His thought process is not that much more refined when he arrives for his first year of art school. He tries hipster chicks, sheltered suburban girls, and trampy girls, all of whom his friend Bardo (the hilarious Joel Moore) charmingly calls "art skanks." But his heart belongs to the beautiful but mysterious Audrey (Sophia Myles). But can he win her heart, win the exhibition show at the end of the year, and finally be recognized as the great artist he is, all while evading the Strathmore Strangler?

Is it any good?


ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL is the beaten-down, cynical hipster brother of American Pie -- all about how to be popular and how to get laid, but with worse language and a far bleaker outlook on life. There are lots of memorable turns in this film. John Malkovich is great as a dippy and untalented art teacher who advises Jerome to "expand and explore" his artistic horizons, and then criticizes him for being "all over the map." Joel Moore, who was fabulously geeky JP in Grandma's Boy, makes another great turn as the perpetual freshman who knows the lay of the land.

There's a lot, plot-wise, to recommend this film, and lovers of dark comedies will relish it. But you have to wonder what's so appealing about Audrey, aside from her beauty. We never find out what she's doing at the school, or why Jerome even really likes her. She's got the least personality of anyone in this film, and for female viewers, that's likely to be a big disappointment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the film's cynical premise -- that the only way to be successful is to lie or be an untalented hack -- rings true. What do you do when jealousy or ambition get the best of you? Families can also discuss the raunchy treatment of sex in general and women in particular in this film. Why are films with such a raunchy approach to sex appealing? How do these portrayals of relationships compare to what you see in real life?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 2, 2006
DVD release date:October 10, 2006
Cast:John Malkovich, Max Minghella, Sophia Myles
Director:Terry Zwigoff
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content and adult themes

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 8 years old September 9, 2009
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Too much consumerism
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