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Wayside School (The Movie) - animated DVD review
WAYSIDE SCHOOL (THE MOVIE) Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Michael Cera, Kathy Najimy, Lisa Ng, Denise Oliver, Martin Villafana, Terry McGurrin
  Studio: Paramount Home Video
DVD release: 25 September 2007   Feature runtime: 49 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; French, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; Spanish, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs

Todd is new at Wayside School hot on the heels of a scandalous happening at his old school. Starting at a new school is never easy, but it's compounded by the sheer absurdity of Wayside. The building itself was built sideways with thirty classrooms on top of one another (apparently the builder had the blueprints sideways and apologized). Its faculty seems to be off its nut, and the student body mirrors this. Todd is voiced by Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad) and his uncertain delivery is a masterwork. Todd is on shaky ground trying to learn the rules and odd ways of the school.

Todd's classmates include Dana (Lisa Ng), the high-strung control freak, Maurecia (Denise Oliver), who secretly loves Todd and expresses this with physical violence, and Myron (Martin Villafana) who is running for class president. Their teacher, Mrs. Jewls (Kathy Najimy), teaches about gravity by throwing things from her classroom window on the 30th floor; the students are prepared for science day and bring umbrellas.

There are great moments of extreme absurdity -the mysterious presence of Sammy, a dead rat in a drawer in the school kitchen, Todd's mysterious departure from his old school, the way Todd gets sent home on the kindergarten bus when he acts up by not taking his seat (the one Mrs. Jewls just threw out the window) when told. It's great fun, and children with an affinity for the absurd and gross will love it!

The animation style is fun, and tidbits are very Ren and Stimpy-esque. Freeze-frame postures and expressions are lifted from John Kricfalusi's now-classic style.

Wayside the Movie evolved into a TV series on Nickelodeon. The series looks to be just as fun as the movie that launched it. I haven't had the chance to enjoy the books by Louis Sachar, but you can bet I will.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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