Movie Review: Detention (2011)
I do not know Joseph Kahn. I have no idea what kind of person he is. I would like to assume he’s a pretty square fellow and all, but if his ability to direct a feature-length motion picture were solely based upon what he did with Detention, I would strongly urge him to pursue another line of work — as quickly as possible.
It’s because his creation is nothing more than a bad hybrid of the overused teen slasher movie (“Scream,” “Friday the 13th,” “Final Destination,” take your pick) mixed in with elements from flicks like “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Back to the Future,” “Saw” and other better cinematic endeavors.
And, after seeing press screenings of this movie and “The Three Stooges” back-to-back, who would have thought the idiotic slapstick trio would come out on top? In fact, Detention made the antics of the new Moe, Larry and Curly look like “The Shawshank Redemption.”
We cannot totally blame Kahn for this travesty, however. After all, he did have some help in the writing with newcomer Mark Palermo. I now have a new-found respect for the horrendous dialogue behind such films as “Twister,” “Independence Day” and “Chronicle.” To add the cherry to the icing of this garbage cake, it also stars Dane Cook.
We are first introduced to this effort with a beautiful young high school coed (porn “actress” Brooke Haven) speaking directly to us and using a series of obscenities and cartoon-like on screen letters and graphics to describe her “miserable” existence. Thankfully, however, she is soon slaughtered by “Cinderhella,” a character in a movie-within-a-movie-within-a, oh, who cares?!
The students at Grizzly High School find out about the murder, but their emotions range from immediate acceptance to downright indifference. A group of them, including Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson, fresh from “The Hunger Games,” he does not improve his stock with this role), Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell, various appearances on TV series, including “The Mentalist” and “Bones“), Ione (Spencer Locke, “Resident Evi: Afterlife“), Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” remake) and Elliot Fink (Walter Perez), among others, are sent to detention by Principal Verge (Cook) for some reason.
While serving this punishment — and after a few more of the fellow pupils are sliced, diced and axe-murdered — they try to piece together clues as to why it’s happening and who exactly Cinderhella really is. They come up with such concepts as a bomb that threatens to blow up the world — 19-years ago; an argument over vegetarianism, a guy who has “fly blood” in his body and a time-traveling stuffed grizzly bear.
And if you think that is confusing and ridiculous, try keeping track of the characters that shuttle back and forth between the present day and ’92, the insipid dialogue, the terrible acting (once again, Cook leads the charge, just like with many of his other roles) and the complete lack of direction.
I will say one good thing for this enterprise, the soundtrack is not so bad, ranging from tunes by House Of Pain to The Backstreet Boys to Bob Dylan to Sting. That small solace, though, is nowhere near enough to give this motion picture any kind of recommendation.
To Mr. Kahn: If you want to take a fresh approach to the slasher film genre, just take a look at “Cabin In the Woods,” a movie that was originally made in 2009, when you were still directing Britney Spears and Blink 182 videos.