School for Scoundrels

  • Review Date: February 12, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Dismal comedy about nerds trying to be cool.
  • Review Date: February 12, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 101 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Geez, where to begin. This movie includes disrespectful behavior, going behind others' backs for your own gain, making fun of others' shortcomings, and physical and verbal abuse. A character is also shown peeing (no nudity).


A violent paintball game and tennis game are played for laughs; characters are attacked by other characters; someone's head gets pushed into a toilet; lots of slapstick comedy with hitting, shoving, slapping, and mace-spraying. Assorted things are shot at guys' groins. References to guys being (possibly) raped by a large man.


Flirting, kissing. A character draws a crude picture of a breast.


"F--k" (one instance); "s--t," "goddamn," "a--hole" (all numerous); "hell," "damn," "tits," "ass," "sucks," and "retard."


Penn and Babolar sports equipment; references to Chicken Soup for the Soul and Tony Robbins seminars; NYC Parking Bureau.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some smoking and drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie isn't suitable for kids -- plus, it's just not a very good movie. It's got everything going against it -- foul language, poor behavior, crude humor, and slapstick violence that's so not-funny that it really isn't funny. Save your hard-earned dollars for something better. That said, because Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) stars, kids will be begging to see it. So please take some time to talk about the movie with your kids so you can add your two cents.

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What's the story?

Roger (Jon Heder), a hapless meter reader plagued by anxiety and low self-esteem is smitten with Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). To gain the courage he needs to ask her out, he enrolls in a confidence-building class taught by the seedy Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton). Aided by his assistant, Lesher (Michael Clarke Duncan), Dr. P pushes the envelope with weird methods guaranteed to unleash your inner animal. His other students include Walsh (Matt Walsh), who's dying to move out of his mom's basement; Diego (Horatio Sanz), a reluctant punching bag for his wife; and Eli (Todd Louiso), who just wants to find a nice girl. But it turns out that Dr. P gets a little competitive with his students, which means one thing: They have to beat him at his own game.

Is it any good?


Based loosely on the 1960 British film School for Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating!, this is another juvenile buddy flick along the lines of Old School and Road Trip, also directed by Todd Phillips. But it likely won't acquire the cult following of those movies, thanks to a few minor details -- like, oh, directing, casting, and writing. The film lacks the energy of Phillips' earlier movies, and the pacing and comedic timing are dismal. It's a complete disaster.

Heder is completely miscast. He has one emotion -- goofy -- and when he tries to act scared or serious, it just ends up right back at goofy. He also has zero chemistry with Barrett and Thornton. Thornton is a formidable actor, but this is likely the worst film he's ever made. The rest of the cast members, including the usually great David Cross and Sarah Silverman, are just killing time, waiting for the end credits to roll.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about constructive ways to improve confidence and self-esteem. What tools and behavioral techniques might be helpful? What should you do if someone you trust turns out to be a jerk? Why is it never OK to make fun of other people? What should you do if you see others being made fun of?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 28, 2006
DVD release date:February 13, 2007
Cast:Billy Bob Thornton, Jacinda Barrett, Jon Heder
Director:Todd Phillips
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:for language, crude and sexual content, and some violence.

This review of School for Scoundrels was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bywindowshoppers April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byfalcons167 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 15 years old Written byAmR April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Very Well Done

I just saw this movie tonight, and it was great! Billy Bob Thorton was Hilarious! Great movie to see with a bunch of friends!


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