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Woodshop (DVD Review)

9 Sep, 2010 By: John Latchem

42 Productions
$14.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Scott Cooper Ryan, Jesse Ventura, Don S. Davis, Jonathan Davis, Mitch Pileggi.

High-school detention in movies is often depicted as a melting pot of misguided but interesting eccentrics where one day can redefine the entire life for the so-called “good kid” who ends up there through unfortunate circumstances. A well-meaning spiritual hybrid of The Breakfast Club and Clerks, the indie comedy Woodshop takes the typical high-school movie clichés and gives them an over-the-top makeover.

The hijinks kick off when valedictorian Chris (Scott Cooper Ryan) almost kills his chemistry teacher with a rocket made out of a beaker. Since he seems to be the only decent student in the whole school, the principal decides to let him off easy with a session of Saturday detention run by a cranky woodshop instructor played by Jesse Ventura. That’s where the school bully pressures Chris into making more explosives so he can blow up the teacher, thinking that will be the end of his problems with authority. Chris can either give in to the bully or unite the other students against him.

Director Pete Coggan has some fun with the narrative by including flashbacks to explain where some of the characters went wrong and how others are connected in ways they never realized. While billed as a comedy, the film’s uneasy tone never quite gives its audience a comfort zone for a hearty laugh. Once the kids get to the woodshop, you’re just waiting for the moment when someone cuts off a limb. Be careful around power tools, kids.

On the plus side, Ventura exudes a commanding presence in his limited role. Woodshop also represents the final performance from Don S. Davis, the longtime “Stargate SG-1” actor who died in 2008.

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