What happens when two high school students, one a straight laced A student and the other a student who is one strike away from the “big house”, swap identities?
You get an retelling of the Prince and the Pauper with an L.A. public school as the back drop, or as it is known Class Act.
Duncan Pinderhughes is looking to graduate high school with top honors, until he realizes he needs to pass phys ed. Which we all know that egg head who lie their booky-books can’t pass. Meanwhile, newly released from juvie, Michael “Blade” Brown needs to graduate high school as part of his parole. Both of them are starting school on the same day when low and behold a tragic mishap occurs. Due to some clumsiness Duncan and Blade’s school records get swapped. Now the smart kid is a thug with a scary rep and the thug is the uber nerd. Oh how the hilarity ensues!
Can Blade make it through the advanced education classes? How will Duncan become the feared ex-con that everyone seems to know about? They decide to work together and become the person their school records say they are. Duncan will become “Blade” Brown to get him to graduate and “Blade” will become Duncan through get him through P.E. Why is that guy called “popsicle?” holy crap there is a dance number! We learn that drugs are bad too! Is the average age at this high school 21? Why is there a wax museum featured here? Will anyone notice they are not who they say they are? Will the girls they fall for still love them if they discover the truth? Is it terrible every time the girl named Damtia is called Datitty by accident, I giggle? Can these two guys survive living as their polar opposite?
The classic identity swap. How you have been missed. Class Act uses this premise for basic sitcom humor and a weak attempt at a life lesson about how society sees you and how you see yourself. This is all done through attempted hilarious happenstances and misunderstandings. There is nothing really life altering or relevant here that you can’t see coming a mile away. The smart kid and bad kid preconceived notions are all there. The comedy hits that surround the awkwardness of the nerd and thug in the opposite world. The parents and their sometimes wacky reactions and concerns to their child’s change. Plus there is that anti-drug bit they throw out too, because drugs are bad. M-kay. There is nothing surprising here.
What is here is a lighter side of the 90’s movie gang and pop culture. It is light , colorful and pretty much a positive story, where a lot of the 90’s movies around the same time were anything but that. That being said Class Act was only good for nostalgia since I had old school buddies who loved this film. I hadn’t seen it in years and it is still as benign now as it was then.