Film Review: Joseph Kahn’s Self-Funded Josh Hutcherson Indie ‘Detention’ Deserves Cult-Hit Status
CHICAGO – Don’t be duped by Joseph Kahn’s insultingly unintelligent trailer for his new ADHD high school slasher/comedy “Detention”. Rather than prematurely blowing his load with the film’s crème de la crème in a two-minute trailer, he’s done the reverse. Kahn – who scraped much of this “indie” film’s $10 million budget from his own pockets – has set up disappointed trailer watchers to discover a hidden gem in his second feature-length film.
Kahn’s fast-paced, Aaron Sorkin-like “Detention” deserves cult-hit status. Just as “The Social Network” embodies our Facebook culture, this SXSW film-festival favorite rewrites today’s high school movie bible.
Despite what this film’s sophomoric trailer might lead you to believe, “Detention” is anything but tenderfoot and witless. And don’t be nauseated by the disenchanting storyline of a killer named Cinderhella stalking the high school student body while a gaggle of co-eds Voltron together and serve “The Breakfast Club”-esque detention to survive. Rather, its brilliance is its guise of tomfoolery. While Kahn is a newcomer to the Hollywood rodeo of feature film, he’s shrewdly riding his first producer credit like a bull with the unfair advantage of a fifth leg.
|Read Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Detention”.|
Kahn isn’t to be critically thrashed by paying out and cashing in one of the hottest new 20-year-old boys in Hollywood today: Josh Hutcherson. It’s 0 percent coincidence and 100 percent deliberate that “Detention” is riding the current launching pad that is Hutcherson’s current worldwide acclaim exactly three weeks following the release of worldwide hit “The Hunger Games,” which has already devoured $472 million globally.
Kahn – who won a Grammy for Eminem’s “Without Me” music video and has done videos for Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, U2 and on and on – hasn’t whored out Hutcherson in a cheap bordello merely to pay the bills. Try putting nearly $10 million of your own wherewithal within a single film without a smoking ace to help you and your studio make its money back. Even if the commercial concept of this casting choice offends you, you’d still laud Kahn for casting a guy who’s able to epitomize the humor, humanity and suave naiveté of the high school hero.
Image credit: Detention Films