Senior Skip Day is a straight-to-DVD high school comedy.
Our hero is a nice kid, a low-profile senior who has no problem fitting in,
but inadvertently makes himself a pariah when he accidentally blabs the time
and location of senior skip day to the principal. The only way he can make up
for it is to hold the event at his own house and make it the best gosh-darn
party in the history of the universe. He's an enterprising kid, so he finally
figures out how to prime the party pump with booze, music and beautiful babes,
thanks to his friends, a helpful convict (Clint Howard), a cool mom (Leah
Thompson), and some sympathetic professional escorts. While he works to build
up the party's momentum, the villainous principal (Larry Miller) will stop at
nothing to find the missing seniors and make their lives miserable.
As you can see from the description, the central plot is not so original.
It's basically a hybrid
of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Superbad. There is a also crazy sub-plot about a young cancer victim who died in one of
those make-a-wish projects, his final dream being to parachute from an
airplane. The sub-plot is integral to the main plot in that the seniors use
the boy's funeral as an excuse to leave school. Needless to say, by the time
the martinet of a principal has tracked them down, they really are at the
funeral. I mention this because the victim was a black kid and the film
devotes considerable running time to a highly theatrical funeral, which includes a
hip-hop eulogy delivered by a gangsta who raps a truly obscene lament for the dead boy, while the audience
moves their shoulders and
grooves along. I did laugh at several of the lines in his rap, but I have to
admit that some of the funeral scenes made me a little uncomfortable. The
screenwriter tried to walk a fine line between "edgy" and "racist," and I'm
not sure he always managed to stay on that line.
Setting that aside, I enjoyed this film. Not everything in the film works,
but the thing that pulls it all together is the lead, Gary Lundy, who was cast perfectly
in the Pinto/Bueller role as a kid
who is neither an outsider not a member of the in crowd, but simply a
resourceful and likeable guy who wants to fit in fairly well without
compromising who he really is. He's not nerdy looking, but he's not movie star
handsome. He's everyman. He's us. Lundy spends the entire
film making asides to the audience which cannot be heard by cast members who
are obviously within hearing distance. It's the same sort of convention one might see in
an Elizabethan play. He
breaks down the fourth wall in more ways than that. During his asides he
actually comments on the film itself, explaining for example that his high
school has the same stock characters and situations as all the other movie
high schools: he has secretly been in love since middle school with the
prettiest girl in school, who is currently dating the quarterback, and the
school is filled with iconoclastic teachers (Norm MacDonald), stoners, vegan
activists who secretly crave meat, and a principal cut from the same cloth as
Dean Wormer. The film goes so far across the fourth wall that the lead actor
and actress talk in one scene as Gary Lundy and Kayla Ewell rather than as
their characters, and they spat a bit about the kissing they did in rehearsal.
You know what? As clumsy as that sounds on paper, Lundy is so sympathetic
in the role that he manages to make that scene and all of his Shakespearian
asides completely charming.