Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (39)
| Top Critics (11)
| Fresh (23)
| Rotten (16)
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is better than middling as it sidesteps the trap of simply pandering to its youthful demo with cheap laughs and silly mugging.
Channeling the spirit of John Hughes and playing like a tween version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life delivers an easily digestible and amusing portrait of youthful hijinks.
Throw in some tacked-on anti-standardized-tests speeches and a late-in-the-game reveal about a death in the family, and you've got a movie that's constantly zigging and zagging emotionally without a skilled hand at the wheel.
Though its title and general tone lament the stifling atmosphere of the years between childhood and full-fledged teenhood, the movie misses the animal hostility and physical awkwardness of genuine tweens.
Ironically, Middle School's message is about encouraging kids and grown-ups to think outside the box and yet, the filmmakers themselves do precisely the opposite.
Despite a cringe-worthy gaffe with regards to the Wu-Tang Clan's geographical origins, "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life" is harmless fun with a trace of anarchy in its DNA.
It may have moments where it feels like" Wimpy Kid", but it takes much more risks and grab more into character depth than that series ever will.
An entertaining slice of Disney Channel-esque subversive comedy that will appeal to both tweens and adults.
Downright funny kid-movie satire about the horrors of moving to a new school and dealing with a dictatorial principal who hates creativity and loves oppressing students.
Given the current discussions in this country on how our school system is failing our kids, the movie's plea for creativity over tests will have surprising resonance for parents too.
Silly and rarely believable in any of its particulars...Andy Daly, though? Really funny.
Middle School is a treat for kids before they head back to their own classrooms.
Based on the best selling novel by the same name, it was widely believed that this would be the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid, sadly it was not. Griffin Gluck was fantastic is his first starring role, but the rest of the cast really didn't have much chemistry, and overall the film just wasn't all that funny. Rafe Katchadorian (Gluck) is a troubled kid, who is sent to his third and final Middle School in the district. It's very strict and if he doesn't follow the rules, he could be headed to military school. Once he gets there, Rafe learns that his principle (Andrew Daly) is beyond strict and decides to get back at him by anonymous breaking not one, but all his rules, causing a school wide rebellion. The story seemed like a good one, but the truth is the pranks weren't all that extreme or funny. The kids in the theater laughed more at the preview before the film than they did at the pranks in the movie. There were also times in the film where you expected the typical crude middle school humor, and while the writers set it up, they never delivered the punch line. That's not the only issue with this film, the kids had some chemistry, but the family didn't. Lauren Graham was terrible, as her character was completely different than that of her kids. She had no connection to them or any idea what was going on with them. But for as bad as she was, it was nothing compared to how awful Rob Riggle was. I have never been a fan of his, but he was beyond annoying in this film, his personality is just so obnoxious and over the top, that the last place he belongs is in a family film. Finally, the whole animation angle brings the movie to a dead stop. Gluck's character is an artist and likes to draw, and at times throughout the film, his drawings come to life in his imagination and take the place of what's happening on the screen, often at the worst possible times. The bottom line, for young actors in a family film, Gluck and Thomas Barbusca did a terrific job, but the story fails to live up to expectations, the humor just isn't there, and the whole thing was full of scenes that should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Yeah, we kinda understand the fact on how middle school could be the worst years of your life, but did you had to seriously make it a full-length feature film? Over all the millions of things that should've been done, this is by far the dumbest move Steve Carr has gone through.
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