When it comes to the tween genre of film there’s the same formula that writers will follow: The lead trying to make a name for him/herself, the goofy best friend(s), and the love interest. “Middle School: Worst Years of my Life” is no different, but with a twist that separates it from the rest.
The film, based on the book by James Patterson, follows Rafe played by Griffin Gluck (“Just Go With It” and “Batman Vs. Robin”) as he tries to adapt to his new school, but Principal Dwight, Played by Andy Daly (“Transformers” and “Semi-Pro”), uses his rules to make the transition difficult. He won’t go down without a fight as his best friend Leo, Thomas Barbusca (or better known as the Peter Pan from the Geico commercial) helps him break every school rule in the handbook in response to the principal destroying Rafe’s art book.
What makes this film worth seeing is its blend of all things a kid Rafe’s age could possibly go through in one movie. School bullies, bratty siblings, and mom’s new boyfriend among other things will appeal to each teen who is currently going through one of these periods. Personally, there were some cliche’ moments that the film could do without such as the three minutes of dancing in the hallway and the cool teacher character played by Adam Pally (“Iron Man 3” and “Happy Endings”) , but nonetheless, would be seen as cool to younger viewers.
However, the film’s trailer provides everything you need to know about the plot. Sure it will seem like your typical tween scenario, but there is more to the film that meets the eye. Rafe is seen as a rebel who doesn’t obey rules, but he is just a typical teenager trying to cope in a new environment. There are some boring moments like the students giving speeches for class president, but the funny moments such as the kids almost using swear words like ‘friggin’ and trying to find words that rhyme with ‘suck’ helped keep my attention.
“Middle School” is one that is enjoyable for families and just the adults as it will remind you of the times you wished you could have fought back against unfair rules and bullies. Through the use of film and animation it provides not just what’s going on with the lead on the outside, but see what he is thinking through his artwork. Even if you don’t get the chance to see it in theaters, it will still make for a good at home film later.
‘Middle School: Worst Years of my Life’ : 2 stars
Run Time: 1:32