Police detective Tre Stokes (Nick Cannon) goes undercover at an upper class private school to infiltrate a car-thieving ring and find out who murdered one of the students, but he soon finds that this sort of school environment is very different from the streets of L.A.
The premise is very thin and unoriginal so the strength of the film is entirely up to Nick Cannon. Unfortunately, Nick Cannon doesn't deliver. He tries way too hard to be funny and he only manages to make a couple of jokes work. I think he has some potential but he needs to pick better scripts. Also, he should start off as a supporting actor since he doesn't really have what it takes to be a leading man, in my opinion. The main problem with the film is the script since it's very lame and offensive. Most of the jokes are racist and derivative so there's another problem. Screenwriters David Wagner and Brent Goldberg come up with a bunch of annoying clichés that don't work out. They don't seem to be trying at all which isn't surprising since they are responsible for My Baby's Daddy.
After Nick Cannon, the supporting actors aren't any better and this is clearly a paycheck movie for everyone involved. Shawn Ashmore is okay as Iceman but his performance isn't very good here. Cheech Marin doesn't really do anything special and he ends up being bland. Kelly Hu and Ian Gomez both play detectives and they just look bored throughout the entire film. Roselyn Sanchez is sadly underused in her role.
Director Marcos Siega does an okay job behind the camera. He at least tries to keep things interesting with a few car sequences that should wake up the viewer. Besides for that and a few jokes, the film is a dud. The romance between Cannon and Sanchez is unbelievable and forced. Most of the supporting characters are one dimensional and they are props for Cannon's insults. The film is also pretty offensive with its racial stereotyping and outdated jokes. Underclassman could have been an enjoyable, harmless film even if it isn't original. However, the offensive script kills that opportunity and the movie ends up being below average. In the end, unless you're a big fan of Nick Cannon, skip this film. Rating 4/10
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