Background: I've been watching "teen comedies" for decades now, often enjoying them for all their built in flaws. Let's face it, the bar is set mighty low on such movies because most of us aren't particularly critical of them (even the tight ass critics tend to be mighty forgiving of them in most cases) so whenever one comes my way, I know what will happen if I point out the flaws. Well, just as there are relatively "good" genre movies, there are a great many more "bad" films in the genre; case in point: Senior Skip Day. While I'm not sure it ever hit the theaters in the USA and there only appears to be a single version on DVD, the box cover labeled this one as "Uncut, Unrated". To me, that means it better have copious amounts of nudity, plenty of drug references, and lots of implied sex or at least sexual innuendoes that make me laugh out loud on a frequent basis or I'm going to feel cheated. With that said, here's a quick look at the movie to give you an idea of what you can expect of the DVD release.
Movie: Senior Skip Day is a movie dedicated to the rite of passage most people are familiar with from their high school years. One day near the end of each school year, high school senior's blow off going to classes in favor of the beach, staying home, or, in the best case scenario, having a huge party involving booze, drugs, and sex. This differs from most days in a student's life primarily based on the sheer number of people doing it so a movie dedicated to it almost has to be good, right? Sadly, they dropped the ball this time and here's why. Starting with the dialogue, the 30-something writer of the movie, Evan Wasserstrom, attempts to engage the world with cute set ups, pithy replies, and the usual cookie cutter verbiage found in such flicks. In this case, it rarely invokes anything outside of the most telegraphed punch lines, often relying on the lowest common denominator style of exchanges by the characters that are so two dimensional, the movie points many of them out at the beginning (using the Shakespearean method by which some of the characters talk directly to the camera as if letting the viewer in on their thoughts). The direction is equally at fault though, almost as if director Nick Weiss were trying to make a home movie on an indie budget.
The cast is led by relative newcomer Gary Lundy, an affable young man not too much older than the role he plays as high school senior Adam Harris, a geek overachiever with the kind of good looks that make him unlikely for the role. Adam inadvertently lets the uptight principle, Frankfurt Dickwalder, know the location of the big party diminishing his already limited popularity to Stygian depths (let's face it, we all hate the "narc kiss ass" character who spoils our fun). To make amends, Adam uses the trust Dickwalder has in him to sponsor a big party at his house; going against his past (even his mother, played by Lea Thompson in a new career low, however limited the screen time, doesn't believe he'd have a party). His sister, hotty Tara Reid who was so underused that the people responsible should be beaten (no way was she 12 years older than Lundy either), walks in on the beginnings of the event, surprised that Adam had some balls after all. Adam and his small band of loser friends enlist the aid of some "hot models" from a big agency (let my pictures show you the weakness of their advertised looks), steal booze thanks to an aging criminal on the lam (Clint Howard), and deal with teacher Mr. Rigetti (Norm MacDonald in a tragically lame role that makes him look extremely sad). The main plot point for Adam is his rivalry with football stud Scott (Talan Torriero) for the affections of the most appealing gal in school, Cara (Kayla Ewell).
The party is a success and all the usual twists and turns one would expect take place. The only real laughs come from Dickwalder trying to find the party to break it up, from his interaction with an upset Asian father, running into the mob in a case of mistaken identity, and crashing a black funeral. Still, as much as I think Larry Miller is the perfect person for the role, he was so poorly written that it defied belief. The way all the "names" of the cast were used struck me as the result of poor planning and I wanted to like the movie despite the limited nudity, the weak jokes, and the excess of drug jokes written by someone clearly infatuated with them, if not actually using them when the script came out. I don't expect a lot of such a movie but this one tried so hard to channel Ferris Bueller's Day Off by way of Animal House and Superbad by way of every cliché in the book, it was painful to watch. As an aside, you know the money never made it to the screen when the "super models" all looked to be pushing 40 (busty Dita de Leon better suited for MILF roles, Jami Miller and Diane Hudock at least coming across as airheads if nothing I'd hire for a lingerie shoot). The movie failed in a great many other ways but ultimately, a comedy needs to be funny (I can forgive many sins but not a lack of humor) and Senior Skip Day was not so I rated it as Skip It despite a cast that could have done much better if given decent material (even Gary Lundy could have likely done more with better lines).
Picture: Senior Skip Day was presented in an anamorphic widescreen color using the 1.78:1 aspect ratio as shot by director Nick Weiss. The video bitrate was hovering in the mid to upper 4 Mbps range most of the time, using the MPEG-2 codec for those who track such things. The fleshtones and colors were reasonably accurate but there was more grain than expected from a modern movie and enough aliasing to make me wonder why someone didn't pay attention to the details. The generic manner in which the movie was shot overall wasn't a big selling point either but what would you expect when the funniest part of the movie was when the crowd found out Adam was fingering the dog, not the drunk broad on the couch? Perhaps with more experience, Weiss could work his way up to providing a better looking movie but the issues with timing were probably related more to the editing than his work, the punch lines needed to be displayed in subtitles on several of the jokes speaking volumes to the idea that the writing was the weakest link.
Sound: The audio was presented with a choice of a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround English in 5.1 using 320 Kbps or a 2.0 Dolby Digital English offering clocking in at 192 Kbps. I spot checked the stereo version and found it to be marginally weaker but there was the occasional use of the rear speakers to mention. The subwoofer was underutilized in even the best of circumstances, such as the gunfire during the mod scene, the car crash, the black choir, or the party dance sequences. The vocals usually sounded slightly canned, as if captured in a recording booth and mixed in later, but they were easy to hear, even in the party portions where they should not have been. The music was generic to a fault in all but a couple of cases (even then not impressive enough for me to research the better ones) so don't expect much from it either.
Extras: The only extras were some trailers. I hate when a short movie has no extras, the best case scenario being a future re-release that contains them to the chagrin of us that spend the dough on the first version.
Final Thoughts: Senior Skip Day is appropriately named for what you should do with the movie (for the clueless; "skip it") and even those of you with the lowest of standards will likely find it to be a poor attempt to combine elements of movies in the genre. Borrowing heavily from movies people like is a standard practice in Hollywood but doing it so badly when you don't have to is lame. The porn references in the jumbo porn critic scene (two obese black guys making reference to specific adult movies but getting all the details wrong, Tori Wells never having been in the movie discussed, the orgy in Holliday's Sorority Sex Kittens 2 far smaller, etc.) could have worked better even if no self respecting person would refer to an Ed Powers movie as a "classic". In short, Senior Skip Day was a mangled attempt at humor and for those of you that enjoy it, I have about a hundred (actually far more) examples you will probably have to watch in small doses lest you overdose by comparison.