Watched Jul 11, 2012
Corey Pierce’s review:
(seen at the Toronto After Dark Filmfest Summer Screenings)
The trailer for this movie is garbage and in no way showcases the joy within. This is what would happen if the happier, more annoying and exuberant arm of the internet, the one that makes Rickrolls, Lolcats, non-sequitor laden YTMNDs and other ADD treats, made a teen movie, but also elected for it to be somewhat coherent. What that means is this thing is a bit like Clone High and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World mixed together. It's also pieces of Scream, Saw, Back to the Future II, The Breakfast Club, Crank, Donnie Darko... The story changes gears on a dime, is rich with references to the last 25 years of culture at every turn, and thankfully not just obvious beaten-into-the-ground ones, and thankfully, unlike Seth MacFarlane's reference-based comedy, is not mean spirited.
Detention seems to be a love letter to crappy teen culture, from the previous generation to the next. Everyone is pretty committed to the bizarreness of it all and does not wink or break the fourth wall. The bad reviews thus... make sense. Satire like this is not meant for the demographics of the current critic pool, and even if it skewed younger this would still be a cult film for acquired tastes.
Detention is fun and funny, infinitely rewatchable, and for its role may as well be the new Wet Hot American Summer. Unlike Wet Hot though, the cast is not stacked (unless you count the kid who was Peeta in the Hunger Games, and Dane Cook, who is shockingly good in this, essentially going full Chris Parnell with his role), so it likely won't have the same (albeit mild) ripple effect that film did amongst the alt comedy crowd. It is what it is.
So if you want a teen comedy with a modern anti-comedy sensibility mixed in with classic Zucker era random diversions, please give it a chance.