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The After School Special   B

Tripod Films

Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Michael Wolinski
Writers: Jeffrey Wolinski, Michael Wolinski
Cast: Adam Boor, Jeffrey Wolinski, K. Thomas Bierach, Heidi Popp, Brendan Mackey, Suzette J. Lipard, Jesus De Santiago.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

The After School Special is a low-budget teen comedy that has cult classic written all over it. I can see the crowds lined up for midnight showings now, each and every one of them doing "The Swerve." What's "The Swerve," you ask? Let's just say it's a dance number more brilliantly ridiculous than anything since "The Macarena." And, believe me, after seeing this movie you'll be doing it, too.

Well, maybe not.

Anyway, the movie shows one day in the lives of friends Quinten Kayhill (Adam Boor) and David Kovetski (Jeffrey Wolinski), two slackers who get out of school one Friday and ponder what they're going to do that night. "I just wanna drink some beer and get some pussy," Quinten says. To which his friend replies, "Who talks like that?" The two of them eventually wind up at a keg party, at which they'll have run-ins with asshole jocks, Quinten's stuck-up ex-girlfriend, the neighborhood retard, and other amusing characters. There's no point or moral to this story, or so the filmmakers suggest. Its only goal is to entertain, to make you laugh, and maybe even offend some people along the way. And, yeah, it's always entertaining, often funny as hell, and sure to offend O.J. Simpson lovers.

Directed by Michael Wolinski, The After School Special has an off-the-cuff, anything goes vibe that's refreshing. Even if you can spot some of the gags from a mile away, it's sure to surprise you with others. One of my favorite gags involves someone drooling a bit too much as they sleep at their desk in school, but I wouldn't dare give away the punch line. The humor is mostly of the lowbrow, throwaway variety, but most of it hits its mark with grace and attitude.

It helps that the main cast is pretty darn likable and fun. Jeffrey Wolinski in particular has the likable smart-ass act down pat and displays a sweetly sarcastic charm. Wolinski's love interest is played by Suzette J. Lipard, who has a natural grace that makes her a pleasure to watch. Did I mention she's hot? The remaining cast of kooky characters is a mixed bag, but most of the actors do a great job. With a comedy like this, most of the humor depends upon the cast to execute it well and they pretty much nail it. It's a funny movie, even if the humor isn't as daring or offensive as it sometimes tries to be.

It's a shame that this movie hasn't found a distributor yet, though it has garnered interest and even won the Best Comedy award at the 2001 Bare Bones International Film Festival. The After School Special deserves to reach a bigger audience beyond the festival circuit. This is cult classic material, brimming with quotable dialogue and lots of laughs. And it's the first step to learning "The Swerve," which, by golly, is reason enough to see this movie.

Review published 03.21.2002.

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