Underclassman

Yes, it's really silly. And no, you won't remember a thing about it the second it's over. But adults looking for fast-moving, nonviolent fun that kids might actually enjoy could do a lot worse. In a plotpoint right out of 21 Jump Street, fresh-faced undercover LAPD bike cop Tracy "Tre" Stokes (Nick Cannon) is sent back to highschool to help crack a stolen-car...read more

Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

Yes, it's really silly. And no, you won't remember a thing about it the second it's over. But adults looking for fast-moving, nonviolent fun that kids might actually enjoy could do a lot worse. In a plotpoint right out of 21 Jump Street, fresh-faced undercover LAPD bike cop Tracy "Tre" Stokes (Nick Cannon) is sent back to highschool to help crack a stolen-car ring that appears to be operating out of one of L.A.'s poshest private academies. The assignment isn't exactly the plum career opportunity Tre thought it was when he volunteered — he dreams of one day making detective, like his dear, departed pop. In fact, it's punishment for the "all passion, no procedure" attitude that's led Tre to take law enforcement into his own hands once too often. And the uniform isn't exactly what Tre had in mind, either. Instead of the navy blue of L.A.'s finest, Tre is forced to don the crested blazer and tie of the Westbury School, a tony, Beverly Hills prep school where L.A.'s richest and most powerful citizens — including Tre's boss, Captain Victor Delgado (Cheech Marin) — send their kids for an expensive education. In a plot complication right out of NEVER BEEN KISSED (1999), Tre must first ingratiate himself with the school's coolest kids before he can get close to the student cops have tied to the scene of the last crime — the very rich and very popular Rob Donovan (Shawn Ashmore). The plot is really just a thin thread on which director Marcos Siega (the man responsible for 2005's abysmal PRETTY PERSUASION) strings tenuously related scenes that require Tre to shoot hoops, jet ski, play rugby, dodge paintballs and romance sexy Spanish teacher Karen Lopez (Roselyn Sanchez). It would be nice if the jokes were funny and the mystery the slightest bit mysterious, but the whole thing manages to resolve itself with a minimum of violence and virtually no profanity while simultaneously extolling the importance of finishing high school. What more could a parent ask?