Jimmy (JD as he likes to be called) lives in Santa Monica and he is white, but he acts "street". His stepfather Allen just got a job as vice-principal of his former school in Florida, so he, schoolteacher wife Katie and JD are moving. At the same time, JD's father Bobo is getting out of prison. He is met by two members of his motorcycle gang, one of which talks like The Tasmanian Devil, and yet the other gang members somehow understand him. These guys seem more like The Three Stooges than anyone we should be afraid of.
JD is put in a class taught by Mrs. Goble, strict but caring and a former teacher of Allen's. JD sits beside Jamal, the one black kid, and tries to make friends with him. This is a mistake, since Jamal, nicknamed "Preacher", is a nerd and very religious, and the other kids don't like him.
Bobo and friends go to JD's old school. In one of his letters, JD said he was moving, but Bobo wants to find out where, and the frightened secretary has to just let him go through the files.
JD alienates the other boys by treating them like hicks, and showing his gang tattoo. And it doesn't help that Allen tries too hard to be cool and usually seems like a bumbling idiot. JD refuses to consider him his father. The girls, particularly Gigi, like JD's bad boy attitude.
The gang is on their way to Florida. Each time we see them, the same grunge song plays (I think I have my terminology right) to let us know we should be scared of them.
Allen wants to start a Boy Scout troop. JD says the boys at this school won't be interested. The girls might be. Soon, a troop of "Adventure Scouts", with both boys and girls, is learning about values and having fun. Even JD seems to be enjoying it. Eventually, they go camping.
The gang arrives in town while the kids are in the woods. First they intimidate the old man who runs a bar who claims his bar is closed. It's open for them, and everything is free. GOT IT? And the one cop can't do any better than Barney Fife. This town is in trouble.
I can say this because it is essentially the summary of the movie given in my TiVo TV listings. What happens next is a lot like what happened to the bad guys in "Home Alone".
And then there is the amazing ending. There have to be some surprises, but I will say only that it is not what anyone would have expected.
Those who made this movie had trouble making up their minds what it would be. It looks like it will be a family comedy, and at times it is. And sometimes it is serious. But it seems more like a project done by a group of people just enjoying themselves rather than a professional production. And the closing credits indicate that may be just what this was. Some actors seem more like they were chosen because they were someone's friends rather than for their abilities. In some cases the acting looks like what we see in celebrities who make appearances on TV or in movies but are not otherwise known for their acting. Again, the credits show this to be the case.
Along with the acting, the writing isn't that great either. But this movie manages to teach values without really getting preachy. One scene really drives home the point, with JD really standing out. And the movie offers some fun too. You have to be patient because the real reward comes toward the end. And, in fact, "Home Alone" is best known for scenes that took place near the end.
I mentioned that this could be thought of as family comedy. It's not really for young children, because of the bad language (a few words were apparently bleeped) and some adult themes. The bikers are kind of scary, but a lot of the threatening behavior happens off screen. The scenes that would create the most concern are not that bad. But nearly all the violence, and maybe all of it, is slapstick.
The music is quite effective in the funny scenes. I mention this because if you weren't sure you were supposed to be laughing, the music helps you to know.
I need to single out several actors. Jadon Fitzpatrick as JD is okay, but he is at this best when really trying to act tough, and another great scene is the one where we see how much he learned. There is also Sydney Post, who is listed as playing Cameron. I remember a cute girl named Cammie, so that must be her. She's not that great an actress but has a couple of scenes where she shows talent. Mostly, she has a really adorable personality. You just have to like her. The real standout performer is the one who we can't understand. And while Corbin Timbrook isn't always that great as Bobo, he can be scary.
I also should mention Pepe Douglas as Mr. Smith, who is quite a character in a couple of scenes, and Elaine Stebbins as Mrs. Goble, an ideal teacher representing what teachers were in the past.
it's not a masterpiece and it won't win any awards, but you might just like it when it is funny.
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