I give this Nickelodeon-type movie 3 Icees out of 5. It’s a fun movie geared for pre-teens and I think it hits the mark there, but the laughs aren’t as plentiful as they could have been. In fact, in the theater I was in I don’t recall hearing anyone actually laugh out loud during the film.
The general concept, as you’ve seen in the trailers, is that a troubled kid is put into a school ran by an over-the-top dictator/principal. Throw in a hatred of standardized tests, a school bully, and a jerk of a mom’s boyfriend and you have the tough life that our young hero is facing. The solution of course is to break every rule in the book (literally, there’s a book).
The kid also has a vivid imagination that manifests itself in his drawings, which “come to life”. I didn’t particularly enjoy those segments as they were disjointed and really took away from the movie. I also didn’t enjoy Rob Riggle (I rarely enjoy his humor, now that I think of it) as the jerk of a boyfriend to mom (the always beautiful Lauren Graham). That character is just too jerkish (is that a word? Spellcheck says it isn’t, but I’m going with it anyway) and is something else that is just not necessary.
Anyway, I gave it 3 because I do think that kids in the target age group would enjoy it, at least enough to pacify them until something better comes along.