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Speech & Debate (2017)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 7 April 2017 (USA)
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Frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and the entire school board, an unlikely trio set out to find a common truth and make their voices heard as they revive a defunct school club and take on the world.

Director:

Dan Harris

Writers:

Stephen Karam (screenplay), Stephen Karam (based on the play by)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Rowley ... Gary Crenshaw
Jerry Leggio ... Ted Burns
Wendi McLendon-Covey ... Joan Hawthrone
Roger Bart ... Principal Bellingham
Janeane Garofalo ... Marie Jones
Kal Penn ... James Merrick
Kimberly Williams-Paisley ... Susan Merrick
Liam James ... Solomon Merrick
Austin P. McKenzie ... Howie Hawthorne (as Austin McKenzie)
Sarah Steele ... Diwata Jones
Skylar Astin ... Walter Healy
Sarah Baker ... Miss Riggi
Robert Peters ... Coach Pemberton
Cristina Franco ... Oksana Poluski
Anna Margaret ... Casey Thronburn
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Storyline

Frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and the entire school board, an unlikely trio set out to find a common truth and make their voices heard as they revive a defunct school club and take on the world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving teen sexuality, substance use, and some language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Речь и дебаты See more »

Filming Locations:

Jackson, Mississippi, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sycamore Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sarah Steele also played the character Diwata in the Off-Broadway play the movie is based upon. See more »

Goofs

At 23:07 in the movie, Solomon looks up Diwatas youtube channel. As the page loads, he's marked as subscribed to her channel, and in the next, while looking at a video, he is marked as not subscribed. See more »

Soundtracks

Rollercoaster
Written by Jack Antonoff and John Hill
Performed by Bleachers
Courtesy of RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Occasionally Entertaining, But Empty Teen Film
4 August 2017 | by molemandavidSee all my reviews

Speech & Debate seems like it wants to go for the jugular and say something profound about small town teen life, but every time it gets close, it chickens out and settles for dull clichés.

The cast certainly seems game. Our three teen leads are appealing, charming, and a joy to watch, but the pedestrian script doesn't do them any favors. It wants to have something to say about gay issues, teen pregnancy, pedophilia, religion, detached parents, and overly moralistic school boards, but it never digs into one of them below the surface and the whole film becomes sort of like a light episode of Glee.

This is not to say that Speech & Debate is without amusing moments, but the laughs aren't big enough to function as a comedy and the drama isn't real or powerful enough to function as a drama. Speech & Debate just sort of...is. In its goal to be inoffensive, light, and watchable for all audiences, it no longer has any bite.

This is a Netflix pick at best.


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