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Directed by Mark Lafferty
Starring Rob Corddry, Monica Potter, Eva Longoria Parker, Jason Biggs

Straight to video comedies, or any genre of movie, can be a gamble. Sometimes the bet pays off and you find an unexpected gem. Sometimes, you lose big. Which one is Lower Learning? Anchor Bay Entertainment recently released Lower Learning on DVD and I placed my bets and crossed my fingers as I put the disc in the player.

The Movie

Geraldine Ferraro Elementary School has got some big problems. Trust me, you haven’t seen a school like this. Teacher and Administration regularly drink, take drugs and swear more than any student ever dared attempt.

The principle is worse than anyone. Principal Billings (Rob Corddry) has some of young students handling illicit bribes and packages. Teachers Jesse (Will Sasso) and Laura (Monica Potter) blend right in with their bad behavior.

Although, Vice Principal Tom Willoman (Jason Biggs) actually wants to do his job and instruct and mentor the youth, instead of exploiting them and he sets forth a plan to do just that. Will the inspector that haunts the hallways of Ferraro Elementary School (Eva Longoria Parker) be of assistance or lead Willoman and the kids further down the path of ruin?

Despite the presence of Rob Corddry as Principal Billings and Will Sasso as Jesse, this film isn’t funny at all. When the shock of what the teachers do in front of children or how sleazy the Principal subsides, you realize you aren’t laughing at all. Which is a shame, Corddry was wonderfully funny on The Daily Show and Will Sasso has had hysterical appearances in Best In Show and his old Mad TV days.

Eva Longoria Parker shows that she needs to stick to her part on Desperate Housewives and pray that it never gets cancelled and her husband doesn’t lose his successful sports career.

Now, let’s look at Jason Biggs. I am not a fan and this film didn’t change that a bit. How does this guy have a career and who out there finds this guy funny? I think he has made a career out of being around funny people and just standing there with a stupid grin on his face. You know, like the guy on that episode of Seinfeld that would sneak up next to Elaine and take credit for her work. Jason Biggs is that guy, except he does it in the world of cinema.

Films like Superbad and Knocked Up have screenwriters and directors feel that all they have to do is write a scene and fill it full of shocking and crude humor or language and just because you heard something filthy, it automatically becomes funny. Films such as this one prove that theory is dead wrong.

Films like Lower Learning just make you yearn for films like comedies that fire on all pistons, like The Jerk, Blazing Saddles or more recent films like Superbad, Anchorman or Clerks 2.

So, I guess if there are any die hard Jason Biggs fans out there, you are going to check this out, despite this word of warning. Are there any of you out there?


The Video

This film is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen. The image is crisp and the detail levels are respectable.There’s nothing special here but the presentation is solid enough for a low budget release.


The Audio

Lower Learning is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The dialogue is crystal clear and mixed well with the soundtrack music.No big surround usage and dynamic levels are fairly flat but again it’s good enough.


The Packaging and Bonus Features

The film is presented in a standard amaray case with artwork that features the mugs of the main characters.

There is a standard making of featurette entitled The ABC’s of Lower Learning: Behind the Scenes that might be enjoyable, if you liked the film. There are also 10 deleted scenes and the trailer for the film.

Not much in this category, unfortunately. Perhaps the filmmaker knew what kind of film he was making.


Overall (Not an average) 4/10

The Review
The Movie 3/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall (Not an Average) 4/1