Recess: School's Out


Directed by: Chuck Sheetz
Written by:Jonathan Greenberg
Starring: Andrew Lawrence, James Woods, Jason Davis, Ashley Johnson, Pamela Segall
Released: June 21, 2001
Grade: C

Every school holidays we find one big family release swamping the box-office which has parents and kids coming out in droves to their local cinemaplex.  However there’s always a few smaller kids flicks that receive a limited release to cater for those who’ve already seen the feature show.  This winter, the blockbuster is Shrek but once you’ve seen its visual effects wizardry, it’s time to come back to earth with either Pokemon 3 or Recess: School’s Out.

I’m surprised that this film was released at all.  There is an American cartoon called Recess and this is the full feature movie for fans of the show.  The problem is that the show has never been seen in Australia and won’t be screened for the first time until July (and even that will be on the Disney Channel).  How is it that Disney expects people to pay money to see this poor animation when they don’t know much of the characters and when Shrek’s screening in the theatre next door?

The story revolves around a group of kids who are now on vacation after finishing the 4th grade.  Most are going away to summer camps but T.J. is staying home and bracing himself for a very boring time.  That is until he discovers some unusual lights emanating from the school and closer inspection reveals a mastermind with a devilish scheme.

Former principal Dr. Benedict has developed a laser that when shot from the school’s roof, will change the position of the moon.  This will turn summer into winter and eliminate the excitement of the holidays.  This will force all students to return to school early and make them to study even harder.  T.J. calls back the gang from camp to sabotage Dr. Benedict’s evil plot.

It’s a weak story combined with weak drawings and with the high bar being set by Chicken Run, Toy Story 2 and Shrek, a film like this doesn’t cut it anymore.  Save yourself the trouble and forget it - it’s aimed at a limited demographic and adults will find nothing to laugh about.