(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Recess: School's Out!)
Doug (vo): Recess: School's Out is a strange contradiction of a film. First of all, the title makes no sense. If school's out, how can there be recess? Movie ruined. Second, I kind of figure this Saturday morning TV show it was based on was centered around...well, recess. Kids getting together, goofing around, getting in all sorts of silly antics, upsetting adults, so on and so forth. And if that's what the show is like, then that's definitely not reflected that much in the movie. The movie opens with a military base being broken into, and all these guys break in and they shock the guards, and this guy with a cane comes in and he's using this satellite to control the moon and...what the hell kind of movie did I get into? On the one hand, I say to myself, "This kind of insanity might actually be kind of fun." But it never quite goes far enough for it to be really, really funny. There's one or two funny moments and one or two funny lines, but a lot of it sadly just comes across as a generic kids' adventure.
Doug (vo): So after that James Bond intro, we get a poorly-rendered CGI opening of the school...thank God there's only one more of these in the movie...where all our main characters, as well as all the other kids in the school, are being let out for summer vacation. Our main lead, T.J., is once again getting under the skin of his principal, Mr. Prickly, played by Dabney Coleman. T.J. is excited, because he gets to hang out all summer with his friends, but it looks like all his friends are going to different various camps, space camp, performing arts camp, wrestling camp, and so forth. When he thinks he has to spend the summer all by himself, he realizes that something strange is going on at the school. A weird green light is coming from the windows, and when he peeks inside, it looks like a laser beam is being created. He goes to the cops, who, of course, don't believe him, so he has no choice but to get all his friends out of their various camps to help him out. It looks like the organization making the beam is led by a villain, played by James Woods, for he has a plan to get revenge on Principal Prickly, as well as destroy recess forever so that test scores can go up, and people will hail him as the greatest mind ever, maybe even make him president.
Doug (vo): Okay, so, on the surface, that kind of sounds like a funny plot, like it's so absurd and so something a kid would come up with that it could be entertaining. And like I said before, parts are. Every once in a while, there's a funny line or a funny idea, and the villain's details in how he's going to get rid of recess is so funny, I won't even spoil it for you. It's just beautifully ridiculous. But sadly, the script needed a lot more humor. A lot of the jokes are just kind of very basic jokes, and half the time, they're not even making them, like they're running down the hallway, and they come across ninjas, and...that's just kind of it. The ninjas don't do anything funny, they don't say anything funny, they're not a special kind of ninja, they're just...run-of-the-mill ninjas. And a lot of the action scenes, jokes and characters are kind of along the same lines. They're just kind of generic.
(Footage focusing on most of the kid characters, as well as the villain, Dr. Phillium Benedict, is shown)
Doug (vo): I really want to like these kids. It seems like they have very defined personalities, but they just don't do anything that interesting in this film. I want to see funny things at wrestling camp, I want to see funny things at space camp, I want to see this goofy villain do really crazy, goofy things on top of the weird plan he has. But, I don't know if they ran out of time to write it or throw in more jokes, but a lot of it comes off as just kind of boring.
(Scenes focusing on T.J. and Principal Prickly are shown, as well as several clips of the film's climax)
Doug (vo): There is kind of a nice lesson connecting T.J. and the principal, showing that not all adults are against kids, they were once kids, too. In fact, seeing how many adults come together to fight for recess is actually kind of a cool thing. I think scenes like this and even a really nice speech that the principal makes about the importance of recess will probably resonate the most with kids and adults.
Doug (vo): But aside from that, they just kind of do the kids' spy adventure thing that every other kids' spy adventure does. Nothing really that new is added, or that many funny elements thrown in, and even when there is a legit emotional moment, it's very brief and doesn't carry the film. Seeing how I never watched the show, I have no idea if this is an accurate portrayal of what it was like, or if fans of the show would like this. My guess is kids would find it okay and parents will get through it all right, but I don't know how good the rewatchability is aside from just having something on in the background. I guess it's silly to be harsh on it, 'cause there's nothing really awful in it. There's no bad lessons, there's no jokes that make you want to go nuts and yell at the screen. But at the same time, this seems like kind of a fun idea, just showing what recess is like and this group of friends and how they work off each other, or if you're going to go for this big, crazy plot about this evil mastermind, go all-out. You have James Woods as your villain, the funniest part of Hercules, he's a funny voice actor! Make him funny! As is, it's just kind of a run-of-the-mill adventure. If you have a nostalgic connection and you don't need that much extra to get into these characters and their stories, fair enough, but this is a playtime where I'm not exactly dreading the bell.
(The film's final scene, showing T.J. and his friends heading off for their summer vacation, is shown)