|Not the noogie|
after the series ended. Here Werkheiser plays Nolan Byrd, a nerdy kid who follows all the rules. He studies hard, doesn't bother anyone and has had a crush on a girl named Isabel (Francia Raisa) since he was little and met her at a lake they both liked. Now, Byrd is harassed by school bully Alvin "Bubba" Bixby (Andrew Caldwell), the son of crooked wealthy town sewage owner Bob Bixby (Daniel Roebuck). When being assigned in class by his history teacher Mr. Green (Tim Meadows) to bring an important situation to light, Byrd decides to create an alias known as "Shredderman" who reveals all of Bubba's wrong doings. Written by Russell Marcus and based on a book by Wendelin Van Draanen, this middle/high school comedy isn't that clever. It is a TV movie so that does limit it's budget and resources, but everything comes off as just very generic among all other things. Savage Steve Holland who has headed other Nickelodeon movies also directed the film.
What writer Russell Marcus doesn't understand is how overused all the school tropes that are shown in this feature and how exaggerated they are. Bullying is still a very serious issue when it comes to school but the way it's displayed here doesn't feel that relevant in today's time. Do bullied kids even get "atomic wedgies" or "fish hooked" anymore? If anything, cyber-bullying feels like more of a thing now. Besides, with these particular humiliations, surely someone from the faculty would see this and would not stand for it. Yet this is a continuous thing at this school at least. This leads into the next point - consequences. Sure there are moments where someone will get what's coming to them but it's all contrived due to plot convenience. Any other time that it's due, it will never show its face. How does a student gain access to old personal digital video files? And if they were, what makes them think they can get away with it? There is such a thing as digital tracking and that can go a long way.
Story wise there's nothing to ride home about either. Making the typical school stereotypes even more generic are the cliches that come with them. The fact that Nolan Byrd acts weird around the girl he likes and his crush not understanding him has been done numerous times before. It's also quite obvious to how it'll end too unfortunately. The story doesn't even try to develop them in a way that'll have its audience feel any other way towards it. It's that straightforward. However even with these problems, the film isn't garbage to sit through. All actors perform their roles the way they should play them; no matter how cliche they may be. Shining among all these actors is Devon Werkheiser for his likability as an actor and his ability to work with whatever he's given. Francia Raisa as his love interest is all right but her character's actions only prove to influence Nolan Byrd's motivational choices. There's also another girl named Miriam (Marisa Guterman) who also likes Byrd, but of course the same can't be said.
|"Me tired....of cliches"|
Unfortunately the cast of likable actors, music and decent camerawork isn't enough to make this school bully story relevant in today's world. There are a lot of cliches in its story and characters that out date it rather than making it close to today's culture.
Points Earned --> 5:10