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Author Topic: Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life
Stu Jamieson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 524
From: Buccan, Qld, Australia
Registered: Jan 2008

 - posted 01-19-2017 02:09 AM      Profile for Stu Jamieson   Email Stu Jamieson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life follows the tween trials of Rafe Katchadorian (Griffin Gluck) as he proceeds through middle school (that's junior high school to us Aussies). When we first meet Rafe, he has been expelled from every school in his region - which is perplexing because he seems like a pretty good kid - and he's now on his final chance at a new campus before he gets sent to boarding school. He's joined at his new school by his buddy, Leo (Thomas Barbusca), and together they buck against the strictures of Principal Dwight (Andy Daly) whilst negotiating a crush with fellow nonconformist, Jeanne (Isabela Moner).

On the surface of it, Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life looks like a stock tweenager movie in the mould of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. But there's layers to this film that you don't expect. Aside from the obvious Wimpy Kid influence, it also draws ideas and themes from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Shark Boy And Lava Girl, Pump Up The Volume, Dead Poet's Society and another film I shan't mention as to do so would spoil a major twist.

Equally, the performances in this film surprise too. Especially from 10 year old, Alexa Nisenson, who as Rafe's caustic kid sister, Georgia, delivers a performance reminiscent of Natalie Portman's Mathilda in Leon. Her career will be one to watch.

Gluck also delivers when the moment calls for it as does Lauren Graham as Rafe's mother, Jules. Andy Daly seems to be channeling the comic tics of Rhys Darby but he gets away with it - just.

But despite the film's many interesting elements, on the whole it is simply less than the sum of its parts. For instance, the use of animated flourishes drawn from Rafe's sketchbook provides a nice visual touch but adds little to the narrative overall. Which is a shame because the film could have been so much more were it not in the hands of the director of Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Daddy Day Care. It's target audience should dig it well enough though.

6.5 out of 10.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1498
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 03-20-2017 11:25 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I didn't see that twist coming! Interesting that this is from the author of the "Alex Cross" series.

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