School for Scoundrels


Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 28
  2. Negative: 9 out of 28

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    Uproarious and unexpectedly biting.
  2. The romance is the movie's least interesting element. But Heder's low-key, surprising charm and Thorton's gleeful wickedness at least glide the film in for a landing. You'll enjoy yourself.
  3. 70
    Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton) is a classy, cool brand of vile--the demented drill sergeant in a designer suit. And Heder, cast in the role of the invisible man, is fine too. The movie wouldn't work without someone as nondescript as Heder.
  4. This is a modest education-of-a-punching-bag entertainment with a kind of breezily rude compatibility -- a hallmark of sorts for both co-writer/director Todd Phillips ("Road Trip," "Starsky & Hutch") and the wonderful actor assigned to play the self-help instructor from hell, Billy Bob Thornton.
  5. 70
    Director Todd Phillips has become Hollywood's go-to guy for collegiate humor, and though this isn't as funny as his "Road Trip," "Old School," or "Starsky & Hutch," there are some choice sequences of the devious Thornton schooling his milquetoast students.
  6. 58
    As usual, Thornton remains fully committed to the performance. Viewers could make a game of scanning his face for even the slightest hint of warmth. By the end of the film, that may be the surest source of entertainment.
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Picture seemed certain to either fly high on outrageous humor or crash under the weight of tastelessness. Instead, the movie just sits there and never comes alive.
  8. An inert and muddled mash-up of romantic comedy and theater of stupid cruelty.
  9. Director Todd Phillips tries for the kind of frat slaphappiness he applied so successfully to "Old School," but these boys are less scoundrels than individual salesmen for the brands of Heder and Thornton.
  10. 50
    This crass remake of the 1960 Robert Hamer film is kept alive for a while by director Todd Phillips (Old School), but ultimately succumbs to its weak script and hopeless typecasting.
  11. Ben Stiller provides a jolt of personality as a past victim who rouses himself from exile, but otherwise Todd Phillips' fitfully funny script never delivers the crude creativity or the raw energy that feeds this genre of proudly crass male-centric comedies.
  12. Clearly enamored with the endearing brand of drawly sarcasm for which Thornton has become known, the filmmakers aren't sure whether to paint Dr. P as an uncompromising villain or a mischievous teddy bear. The upshot is that Dr. P's most menacing aspect is Thornton's rather obvious hairpiece.
  13. 50
    A grim experience, with too little wit and humor to compensate for its faults, and the upbeat ending feels like a cheat. Thornton is good, but not worth the price of a ticket.
  14. In the funniest and, coincidentally, most "Jackass"-like scene in Todd Phillips' School for Scoundrels, a planned game of paintball gets off to a bad start when the players begin shooting each other at point-blank range.
  15. Thornton and Heder perform at about half their maximum wattage, which isn't enough to power the inert script.
  16. 50
    In post-"Wedding Crashers" Hollywood, the entire exercise feels dated (just as the comedy's PG-13 rating -- this in spite of a recurring rape joke -- makes it feel neutered).
  17. Despite the appeal of cobra-eyed Thornton and bunny-nosed Heder, Scoundrels trips early, and often.
  18. 42
    This may be Thornton's most arch, least persuasive performance. With Heder he's a vacant scowl. With Barrett he's a threatening yet toothless Cheshire Cat.
  19. Reviewed by: Sam Toy
    A script that suffers the same problem as its characters -- lack of confidence -- is in dire need of a fire being lit under its arse. All involved could do with learning a thing or two from some scoundrels of the 'dirty, rotten' school.
  20. This ultimately disappointing comedy starts reasonably strong, delivers a few good laughs, then rolls over and plays dead.
  21. For all its crudeness, Phillips' tale of men behaving badly is remarkably toothless.
  22. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It achieves something previously thought impossible: It renders Billy Bob Thornton unfunny.
  23. School for Scoundrels suffers from an old-fashioned identity crisis. The poor thing is awfully confused, and so are we. Is it a black comedy that isn't dark enough? Or a dumb comedy that isn't stupid enough, or a gross-out comedy that isn't yucky enough? Or is it really just a romance comedy that isn't sweet enough? Don't have a clue, but this much is certain: It's definitely a failed comedy that isn't funny enough.
  24. 30
    School for Scoundrels varies between taking itself seriously and not, leaving the viewer alternately confused and disappointed.
  25. Billy Bob Thornton's leer is much in evidence in the shoddy comedy School for Scoundrels, though the tackiness of the film, its lazy direction and its self-satisfied stupidity may mean that Mr. Thornton curled his lip about the production rather than for it.
  26. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    School for Scoundrels will only leave you scratching your head in bewilderment and might possibly shave off IQ points.
  27. 25
    School for Scoundrels teaches one important lesson: Avoid any thing carrying the banner of The Weinstein Co., which is to the multiplex what bagged spinach is to the produce aisle.
  28. It would require a near-lethal injection of nitrous oxide to induce laughter.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 19
  2. Negative: 9 out of 19
  1. Feb 3, 2016
    It wasn't that good to be completely honest, but it wasn't that bad either. When Bad Santa meets Napoleon Dynamite, this is the result. IIt wasn't that good to be completely honest, but it wasn't that bad either. When Bad Santa meets Napoleon Dynamite, this is the result. I think I would rather watch this than play any virtual school game. Full Review »
  2. Dec 6, 2015
    Following his Old School Road Trip, and long before his epic Hangover, Todd Phillips went back in time to remake the classic School ForFollowing his Old School Road Trip, and long before his epic Hangover, Todd Phillips went back in time to remake the classic School For Scoundrels, with disappointing results. The story follows an insecure loser in love, who takes a class on how to become more appealing to women. His teacher is a total player, who teaches the class to the best of his abilities, but in the end, he has the same goal as the others, and ultimately falls for the same girl as the loser. When seeing a Todd Phillips comedy, that is unrated, and features Billy Bob Thornton, you should expect to see a raunchy good time, but that's not what happens here. To Phillips, keeping as close to the original story was more important than modernizing it for today's audiences, and the result was a film that fails to live up to expectations. This film needed a major injection of raunch, the kind Thornton became known for in films like Bad Santa. Instead you get what amounts to an average, mediocre, comedy. In this film, Thornton is paired with Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite himself, but as with that film, his monotone lovable loser act, gets old very quickly. This film has all the makings of a wild ride and a terrific comedy, but instead it falls flat on it's face, as just another ordinary, run of the mill, romantic comedy. Full Review »
  3. Nov 26, 2011
    Billy Bob Thorton is a great lead and plays a wonderful villian and is perfect for this film. Jon Heder though is a terrible lead that doesBilly Bob Thorton is a great lead and plays a wonderful villian and is perfect for this film. Jon Heder though is a terrible lead that does not do a good job at selling his role. What started off promising slowly goes down hill. While there are a few funny moments, You wont miss much by skipping this film. Full Review »