I rented Kickin It Old Skool, because it co-stars Aris Alvarado of Gilmore Girls fame, and I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan. But I clearly could have done better. Maybe by watching grass grow instead of watching this movie.
Kickin It Old Skool is the comedic story of one Justin Schumacher (Jamie Kennedy), who as a boy hits his head in a breakdancing accident and ends up in a coma. After 20 years, he wakes up to find that his parents kept him alive by mortgaging their house to the hilt, and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. He also discovers his childhood sweetheart Jennifer (Maria Menounos) is engaged to his arch-enemy. He must get his old breakdancing group together again, now all in their thirties, and win a TV dance contest with a $100,000 prize, in order to save his parents’ home and to get the girl back from the villain.
And yes, it really is as stupid as it sounds. Frankly, this film is too juvenile to be enjoyed by an adult, but has too much adult content to be suitable for a kid. However, I have labored through this film, not just once, but twice, so that you won’t have to bear it even one time. And so that you can still appreciate the full depth of its shallowness, I’ve compiled a top-10 list… er… I mean, bottom-10 list of the 10 worst aspects of this movie.
10. Most Juvenile and Trite Character: The villain, Kip (Michael Rosenbaum), who was a cliché as Young Kip (Taylor Beaumont), and who somehow didn’t grow up any better than Justin, even though he was not in a coma. He’s nasty; he’s snide; he’s self-absorbed; he demeans everyone, including the girl (and inexplicably gets her anyhow); he fights dirty and thinks he can get away with it; and he always wears black, because that’s how we know he’s the villain. And his idea of a funny joke is offering to shake your hand and then yanking his away at the last minute.
Note that Kip beat out Justin’s parents for this coveted spot, just barely. They are even stupider than Samantha Who‘s parents. (Why must the parents of fictional coma patients be more brain-dead than their children?) Kip beat them out for the “Most Juvenile and Trite Character” award only because… well, because he was on-screen first.
9. Worst 80’s Allusion: “Do you wanna come over and maybe watch Blue Lagoon? We have it on Beta.” Beta? Need I say more?
8. Stupidest Plot Device: 20 years in a coma? Come on! The brain degrades while one is in a coma. And the longer one is in it, the less likely he’ll wake up, at least without being a vegetable. When Samantha Who wakes up after several days in a coma, she can’t remember who she is, and that’s actually plausible. But to wake up after 20 years and just pick up where he left off? What is this? Sci-fi? (No, because sci-fi is way better than that.)
7. Dumbest Joke: When the bum urinates all over himself. On two separate occasions. Or maybe when Justin pretends his chocolate birthday cake is feces. Yeah, pee and poop jokes. Real funny. Sorry, was I supposed to laugh?
6. Most Contrived Plot: Justin plans to get the Funky Fresh Boys back together again, win the dance contest and the $100,000 prize, so that he can save his parents’ house and so that Jenny will have to come back to him.
5. Most Contrived Character: Justin himself, because throughout this sordid tale, he continued to act and think like a pre-adolescent from the 1980’s, even though he clearly knew 20 years had passed. A real person in that situation (if that preposterous situation ever could exist) would have questioned everything he knew, until he was sure he had come up to date. It was clear that the only reason he persisted in this silly, backward behavior was because if he acted like a real person would have, most of the movie’s jokes would have disappeared.
4. Most Disturbing Scene: Hector pretending to be a woman, in a wig and bra, in order to demonstrate to Justin how to get, uh, amorous. Or maybe the most disturbing scene was Justin seeing a woman’s breasts for the first time. Sheesh! Grow up already, will you!?
3. Dorkiest Surprise Guest Star: David Hasselhoff acting like Michael Knight in a Kit look-alike. And then making a veiled reference to a woman’s nipples. Almost made me puke.
2. Most Misplaced Actress: Maria Menounos as Jennifer. It’s wrong to waste such a gorgeous and talented actress in such an unsympathetic and unsatisfying role.
1. Most Melodramatic Moment: When Justin at the end of the story in order to win the dance contest must perform the same move that put him in a coma for 20 years. Gosh, I never saw that coming. Will our hero finally pull it off? Or will he end up in another coma for another 20 years? Find out in the next exciting episode!
Using just about every Nickelodeon-after-school character and plot device in the book, combined with just enough crude sexual content and language such that I wouldn’t let my kids watch it–and I’m a pretty forward-thinking parent… Kickin It Old Skool is best rented only if you want to get together with a bunch of friends and make cheap fun of it. Don’t expect to laugh at this movie. Expect to laugh at its expense, if at all. And expect to roll your eyes a lot.
P.S. Here’s the Kickin It Old Skool trailer: