I challenge the viewing public to not hate this film. In fact, I’m pretty close to recommending it as a “how not to” for filmmakers everywhere, or maybe as a “let’s get drunk” and see this and laugh and laugh. It is very stinky. I’m not sure how much clearer I can be but I’m morally obligated to go into more detail.
Underclassmen is the story of actor Nick Cannon as “Tre” going undercover at a wealthy private high school. He’s a bike cop for the L.A.P.D. but his youthful appearance gives him the chance to try and solve the caper of a murdered student. Words can’t really do justice to the Nick Cannon performance in this one, especially given that I’m a Drumline fan. Nick may have tanked his whole career here. He’s that bad. I’m not sure if he was given bad notes, bad direction, or just plain old bad dialogue but he’s almost unbearable in Underclassmen. He plays a fellow who hits every stereotype known to man, he’s brash, he’s outrageous, he plays basketball! What he doesn’t do is make you laugh or seem like a person who exists on this planet. He sort of plays it like Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element, but without the futuristic planet or Bruce Willis. He’s an undercover agent who draws more attention to himself than say the Good Year blimp. Okay, so Nick Cannon is bad, but he’s not the only aspect that deserves scorn and derision. Let’s spread the pain!
Cheech Martin is also comically bad, and you kind of feel pity at some point in the movie. Was he working for cash? Did he lose a bet? He actually utters dialogue like “You’ve got one more chance, don’t let me down.” Cheech says this. Cheech?!?! Man, how the mighty have fallen. Before I go on I want to mention one thing about the film I liked, and that’s some of the soundtrack. They open the film with “California Love” by one Tupac Shakur and that’s a noble move. I appreciated that. I just wish they would have warned me about the rest.
In most of my reviews I don’t like to go into plot much. I figure it’s my job to give you my opinion, not to tell the story of the whole movie. But in this case I’ve got to bring up a few specific plot points. I guess we’d call these spoilers, so if you’re planning on purchasing a ticket to this monstrosity you should probably click off this review and go back to eating Play-Dough. Here we go. Tre (Nick Cannon) is an undercover cop. At a high school. You with me? He goes undercover to catch a killer. As it turns out Tre never graduated high school. No, he got his G.E.D. So he decides to catch the killer and finish out high school. Read that again if you get a chance. Yes, that’s right, he’s undercover, and yet still getting credit towards his diploma. He’s got to be what, 22? Are we actually allowed to go back to high school?? Because I will turn in my G.E.D. right now (kidding of course… I love my G.E.D.). Or perhaps it was because he’s undercover with an assumed identity that he can get credit towards his own diploma? Or maybe he was undercover with his own identity. Let’s call what he did “overcover” then. Sheesh. The other intriguing logic brutality is that you can cause millions of dollars in damage, discharge firearms at will, all in the name of catching the “bad guy.” At the end I think Tre found the murderer and stopped some drug shipments with the only downside being he destroyed Venice Beach and killed a few folks. Greater good, eh? I hope and pray the writers from Van Wilder can do better than this their next time out.