The Kidd Vs. DETENTION
Within five minutes of the start of Joseph Kahn’s DETENTION, you’ll know whether you’re going to embrace its out of control, ridiculously-paced approach to storytelling and genre-bending, or you’re going to hate it for the exact same reasons. Count me in with the latter.
DETENTION, which plays like a movie suffering from ADHD sans Ritalin to keep it under control, can never decide what it wants to be as a film, because it desperately tries to be everything all at the same time. Want an example? At different times, DETENTION dabbles in comedy, horror, sci-fi, the 80s, the 90s, action, time travel, and body switching. It’s like a self-referential trip through teen culture over the past two decades, only there’s no one steady thread to carry you through. You get 50 different lines cast out instead, many of which go nowhere and accomplish nothing, and your brain is left hurting as you make failed attempts to grasp what exactly is going on.
The film follows super bitch Taylor Fisher (Alison Woods)… no, wait… too cool for school Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson)… nope, that’s not it either. How about loser Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell)? It’s quite difficult to say for sure, because, in addition to how quickly it jumps around to satisfy the attention span of an 11 year old, DETENTION unleashes all the identities contained within its multiple personality disorder at once. There is no one person to follow and yet there isn’t really anyone to follow either. The film becomes so flush with side stories and subplots surrounding everyone from the new head cheerleader to the principal to the dude stuck in detention for 11 years that, after awhile, it is as if a bunch of different short stories were just jammed together into one nonsensical collection.
Kahn and co-writer Mark Palermo actually have a knack for witty dialogue that may have made these characters interesting to watch in a far more coherent film, but their efforts in constructing a speak that’s part-meta, part-pop culture junkie are wasted by their inability to pull together any semblance of a plot. Yeah, there’s something that very loosely connects beneath the nods to SCREAM and THE BREAKFAST CLUB, but if you have to dig that hard to find something that half-baked in story, it’s not really worth it. My efforts shouldn’t be greater than the payoff. It’s far less clever than it thinks it is. There’s almost a DAWSON’S CREEK sensibility to how the characters talk – they’re well-written, but you have a hard time buying for one second that people actually talk like this unless their words are being chosen for them.
DETENTION is ambitious in its scope, trying to wedge just about every movie genre known to man into one movie, but, in taking a shot to do so much, the film does very little effectively. It winds up being all over the place, because it lacks any type of focus whatsoever. DETENTION is filled with a lot of clutter, bombarding you with a ton of information that doesn’t mean much in the overall scheme of things meant to distract you from the fact that there’s not much substance lying beneath the style of it all.
"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"
Follow me on Twitter.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
April 12, 2012, 2:45 a.m. CST
April 12, 2012, 3:14 a.m. CST
somethings fishy here
April 12, 2012, 3:38 a.m. CST
You may not be the right reviewer for this site..most of the people here pay to see shit and then whine about it a year later.
April 12, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST
apart from this miserable sod ?
April 12, 2012, 3:56 a.m. CST
April 12, 2012, 4:24 a.m. CST
April 12, 2012, 5:31 a.m. CST
...don't have to read the reviews, I know its gonna be negative... Seriously, just post "The kidd vs any movie title"... we know you hate the movie lol From what I'm reading on the talkbacks, others feel the same lol
April 12, 2012, 7:32 a.m. CST
Wow, this is a pretty shitty review. The only person who seems to know what a review actually is on this site any more is Quint when he does one.
April 12, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST
..like the same brains who came up with 'Dude, Where's My Car?' which was also a huge piece of aimless crap.
April 12, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST
Massa? Capone? Its either were stuck with harrys life stories or this guy bitching about every movie and posting 3 day old stale ass news
April 12, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST
I like having to work for the answer in a movie. It's the sign of good work to me. While this film doesn't appear to be the next Mulholland Drive, sounds interesting enough based on your nonreview. I like rambling pieces of plot that never coalesce.
April 12, 2012, 9:15 a.m. CST
April 12, 2012, 9:28 a.m. CST
I just notice that Dane Cook is in this movie. I guess I will never know if it is good or not because I will never watch it now.
April 12, 2012, 11:05 a.m. CST
.... what a shocker.
April 12, 2012, 12:56 p.m. CST
why is he here? to make TBers realize that the real AICN contributors arent as annoying as him? if so, the childd succeeds ps: stop versusing movies. its stupid. if anything youll always lose since you dont seem to enjoy anything
- Timur Bekmambetov Finds His Ben-Hur For, Well, BEN-HUR!! -- 140 total posts 140 posts
- 3rd PICKS & PEEKS of Sept 2014: Crichton Blus, THE PARTY, Bloody Entertainment, GODZILLA 3D & More!!! -- 542 total posts 128 posts
- Loki vs. King Kong in SKULL ISLAND! -- 345 total posts 70 posts
- Promo Images From DOCTOR WHO S08E05 - ‘Time Heist’!! -- 135 total posts 33 posts
- DESTINY ‘Raids’ Have Begun!! More Events Coming Soon!! -- 27 total posts 27 posts
- A New Poster For Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR!! -- 228 total posts 27 posts
- 12 TIFF reviews from 'garbageman33' covers everything from Gyllenhaal in NIGHTCRAWLER to Baumbach's WHILE WE'RE YOUNG! -- 27 total posts 25 posts
- Behold The Cool(ish) IMAX Poster For DRACULA UNTOLD!! -- 185 total posts 22 posts
- Meryl Streep Bewitches the First INTO THE WOODS Poster! -- 72 total posts 22 posts
- AICN COMICS Reviews: Grant Morrison’s ANNIHILATOR! HAWKEYE! DUNGEONS & DRAGONS! SUPERMAN UNCHAINED! TOM CLANCY’S SPLINTER CELL! & More! -- 19 total posts 19 posts