Bad Education The Movie

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UK Release Date 21st August 2015
Director Eliot Hegarty
Starring Jack Whitehall, a hamster
Runtime 91 minutes
Certificate 15
Reviewer Jo
Reviewed 27th August 2015

There has only ever been one film that I have actually walked out of. Closer came close, as did Deadfall but the film with that dubious honour is Mel Smith’s 'classic' -  Blackball. Bad Education The Movie almost became the second film to get me moving. Nearly. Very nearly. Luckily Jack Whitehall has enough charm to sit me back down and with gritted teeth carry on watching because actually in the end it was….alright and actually made me laugh out loud a couple of times. Do I ever want to see it again? No. Do I think you should see it? Probably not unless it’s on at someone’s house and you are drunk or stoned or fifteen years old. Then you’ll love it. 

I am not aware of Bad Education the TV programme and actually only saw this film because I got to the cinema too late to catch The Wolfpack. Good start I know. Basically the ‘story’ is that wayward teacher with a heart Alfie Wicker has pissed off most of the parents at the comp where he teaches for being reckless and doing stuff like accidentally ingesting magic mushrooms and stealing Anne Frank’s waxwork from the Anne Frank museum on the last school trip to Amsterdam. Thus his latest trip to Las Vegas has been shelved. Not wanting to let the kids down he arranges a trip to Cornwall but is at the last minute accompanied by Susan, his arch nemesis who plans to film all of his fuck ups on her Google glasses. Alfie’s plan is to touch base with his old fencing chum who is having a party in his castle and give the kids a great holiday. Throw in some Cornish smugglers/freedom fighters and other boring stereotypes of Cornwall folk and as you can imagine things don’t quite go to plan….

There were lots of moments in the obnoxious first half hour of Bad Education that made me want to punch someone. Luckily I was sitting in a row on my own and had to make do with shoving my fist in my mouth or kicking the chair of the irritating fat man in front of me who kept turning round every time I moved a muscle. Some of it is just not funny and in the first ten minutes it became patently clear that this film was knocked up on a low budget and rushed out to try cash in on the TV programme and Whitehall; attempting to cash in from the same audience that made The Inbetweeners and Mrs Browns Boys so successful. Sadly Bad Education feels resolutely like a TV movie stuck on a big screen, director Eliot Hegarty hasn’t expanded his view from his TV experience and the film suffers as a result, it never achieves anything remotely cinematic. Hegarty is also quite clearly a fan of Edgar Wright as Bad Education’s eccentric Cornwallains borrow heavily from Hot Fuzz in feel and humour, hell; there is even a group of German dopplegangers lifted straight from Shaun Of The Dead. Sadly the script and directing are not a patch on those two films and I very much doubt Edgar Wright will ever direct a film where a hamster gets shot out of a tennis serving machine into Joanna Scanlan’s vagina. 

So as this appalling first half hour trundled on I felt seriously concerned about my ability to see it through. But then something changed; it started to reel me in. It started to make me laugh. Helped by the fact that I do find Jack Whitehall funny and likeable by the end I didn’t think that I had completely wasted two hours of my life. Which is always nice. The story is ludicrous but I’m pretty sure 99% of the people going to see this film aren’t hooked in by the lure of a dazzling screenplay. They’re hooked in by the idea of Jack Whitehall eating a 200-year-old foreskin. Yes you heard right. There is actually a pretty good message about friendships in there and the there is a kid for every type of minority/disability so that’s also pleasing for the young folk.   

The supporting cast are all very good - too good. I really did wonder what the hell they were doing there. Harry Enfield, Sarah Solemani and Matthew Horne (with a fantastic hairdo) pop up now and then to phone in their pointless roles but they are of course funny and charming. Joanna Scanlan is great in the truly awful role of mother/tyrant Susan and the kids are all really rather good. Marc Wooton is very funny as a policeman, Iain Glen seems to be in panto mode as Cornish Liberation Army leader Pasto but he seems to be having fun and Jack Whitehall is just playing an obnoxious version of himself. There’s a pretty good soundtrack and it is mercifully only 91 minutes. 

In Short: 

If you are a fan of the TV series or a teenager you will probably find this film funny. Otherwise I’d probably give it a wide berth. Sorry Jack.

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