Stay Cool DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 5.5
Video 5.5
Audio 4.0
Special Features   0.0
Total 5.5
Distributor: Sony
Classification: M15+
Minutes: 91
Reviewer: Hannah Lee

5.5


Stay Cool

High school seems to be a goldmine for comedy films. Filled with stereotypes (the geek, jock, cheerleader and so on), awkward adolescent urges and oddball teachers, the halls of a high school open up endless possibilities and stories that everyone can relate to in one way or another. The high school movies that manage to gain popularity, however, are the ones that take these recognizable features and present them in a style of humour that is original, frank and highly entertaining. Stay Cool is a perfect example of a movie that doesn’t do this.

Henry McCarthy (Mark Polish) is an author who has published a best-selling fiction book on high school experiences that rings a little more autobiographical to those who know him. In returning to his hometown to deliver a commencement speech to the graduating teens of his old high school, Henry relives the same emotions and situations that he used to face eighteen years ago – especially in relation to his old high school crush, Scarlet Smith (Winona Ryder). As Henry uses this blast to the past to do the things he didn’t get to do as a geek in his teen years, he comes closer to imparting wise words to the high school leavers and finally moving on from his own fears and what-ifs that he’d been avoiding for so long.

Since Stay Cool projects a reminiscent perspective of high school from the eyes of Henry, the movie has plenty of potential for a unique take on high school humour in that it’s not stuck to teen characters presently at high school, but rather an adult’s revisitation of the awful and open-ended memories of the past. Instead, the flat acting and dull characterisation of Henry stumps out this potential and proves that some thirty-seven year old adults are incapable of maturing from their past teen behaviour as he sneaks out of his parents’ home, rebels against teachers and inappropriately takes an eighteen year old student (Hilary Duff) to the prom. It’s hard to conceive of a more unlikeable and unconvincing main character. And while his actions could trigger interesting outcomes, Stay Cool chooses to resolve Henry’s problems simplistically and cut short any angst-ridden moments so that there is no space for any compelling or realistic insights into high school’s abundant store of potentially hilarious situations.

Stay Cool does, however, try to amp up comedy through Henry’s old school friends; a homosexual stereotype Big Girl (Sean Astin), and an eccentric dropkick Wino (Josh Holloway), both of whom manage to achieve occasional moments of over-exaggerated comedy. Of course, there is also plenty of heart in the film as Henry gets another shot at love with Scarlet, but unfortunately no amount of romance or dim-witted humour is enough to make Stay Cool entertaining or exciting. So if high school movies were to resemble high school stereotypes, Stay Cool would be the forgettable kid with the uncharismatic and unexciting personality. While it conforms to all the expected conventions of a high school comedy, the film is uninventive in its approach to adolescent issues, lacking the wit of a nerdy film or the slick charm of a popular high school flick.






 
 



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