DETENTION (2012, Joseph Kahn): 6/10
A manic, ADD-fueled adrenaline rush, DETENTION is consistently entertaining, but its ambitions outweigh its artistic skill, and the result is a sloppy, muddled, overstuffed casserole of pop culture that simultaneously has too much and not enough to say. No stone of American entertainment from 1983 to 2011 is left unturned in Kahn’s scrambled brain, and you could probably watch this film 10 times and still catch a new reference every viewing (oh, that’s the last shot of FIGHT CLUB, oh yeah that’s Sigourney Weaver’s name in ALIENS). But is this just a list of post-ironic meta-comments, or does the film really have something to say about the impermanence of cultural trends as it relates to the tenuous solitude of being a middle class teenager? I don’t know; it doesn’t really matter. There’s still some provocative stuff here and I recommend this to movie geeks and pop culture nerds — it’s not that great, but it’s the kind of thing we should have more of.
(P.S., poker players & fans might recognize cameos from Daniel Negreanu, one of the film’s financiers, and his ex-girlfriend/poker hostess Amanda Leatherman).