This year’s Sundance Film Festival high school tribes and tribulations entry is nothing like last year’s “Napoleon Dynamite”, but instead comes off more like Penelope Spheeris’ 1984 punk rock classic “Suburbia”. There’s a raw authenticity here that comes not only from the documentary style filmmaking, but from the cast of mostly non-actors who are better known as musicians on the underground music scene in Los Angeles.
Two high school students decide to make a cinema verite documentary on their fellow classmates, inside and out of the classroom, taking us on a trip down memory lane as we re-discover just how much high school really did suck. The budding filmmakers’ camera focuses mostly on a small group of students, each with their own adolescent eccentricities, as they stumble through the grueling school year, struggling with the work load, relationships and general teenage angst.
There’s about half of “High School Record” that’s really entertaining, while the other half falls flat, making for a really dull watch. Certain scenes seem to drag on forever and there’s only so far that this cast can take their characters before they hit a wall, unable to build further interest to hook an audience so that they’ll want to watch more than the first 40 minutes. “High School Record” has a lot of good intentions, but you’ll be better off leaving your uncomfortable teen years in the past rather than trying to revisit them here.