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Adventures in Public School

Everyone’s weird, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At least, that’s the message driving Kyle Rideout’s outrageous Canadian teen comedy Adventures in Public School.

Setting its off-kilter tone with a strange mother-son dynamic and some unconventional camerawork, Adventures in Public School pulls its audience in with idiosyncratic qualities akin to Napoleon Dynamite’s rural dysfunction.  The movie is inoffensively funny during these early scenes, but it’s scraping the surface of anti-social quirks that gutsier high school comedies played around with.  However, there’s a unique switch that is subtly triggered when home-schooled Liam (Daniel Doheny) hugs his mom goodbye and attends his first day at a public high school.  Liam, as socially awkward as a teenager can be, fits in as a substitute student – almost too well.  But then, it’s revealed that everyone at school – teachers, bullies, and peers alike – are as graceless as he is while they unawarely carry their own individuality in the unspoken hierarchy of high school.

From there, Adventures in Public School turns its quirkiness into genuine charm.  The loose coming-of-age story sustains consistency in its bizarre humour and heart as characters find themselves impressed and rewarded for maintaining their integrity.  Sure, they might be oblivious during the journey, but they know when they’ve received a straight-A in happiness.

Adventures in Public School screens in select Cineplex theatres on Saturday, April 28 and Tuesday, May 1.

Pre-order the film on iTunes here!

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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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