I've come to the conclusion that Jamie Kennedy is the new generation of Dana Carvey. Kennedy has a similar feel to his comedy and costumes are, like Carvey (who, as we all remember, was a "Master of Disguise") are a fairly frequent part of his bits. However, the differences between the two are that Carvey had a wider range and sharper delivery. Kennedy, while often funny, seems more limited in his characters (he's gone to the "hip-hop white guy" well a few too many times now) and performances.
"Kickin' It Old Skool" is Kennedy's latest effort and, once again, Kennedy starts off amusing, but the movie gradually sinks as the picture becomes increasingly one-note and repetitive. The idea isn't horrible, but the gags can be rather bland and lowbrow. One wonders what a Will Ferrell could have done if he fully embraced the concept. Kennedy stars here as Justin (Jamie Kennedy), a breakdancer who sustains a serious injury during a talent show when he's 12. When he gets out of a coma 20 years later, the world has become a very different place.
Meeting up with old pals Darnell (Miguel A. Nunez Jr.), Aki (Bobby Lee), and Hector (Aris Alvarado), he realizes that they need to get their old breakdancing group back together in order for him to earn the cash he needs to help his parents - Marty (Christopher McDonald) and Sylvia (Debra Jo Rupp, repeating her character from "That 70's Show") - pay off the mountain of medical bills he's racked up over the years he was in a coma. In the meantime, Justin tries to win back the girl he had a crush on, Jenn (Maria Menounos, just completely amateurish in an unfortunate debut) - who's now engaged to his old nemesis, Kip (Michael Rosenbaum, sorely underused).
The majority of the movie sees the group trying to prepare for the contest, which quickly grows tedious (there's no reason that this needed to be 107 minutes, when 80-85 would have been a far better length for the thin tale), as the gags are mostly tired slapstick and way too much bathroom humor.
The romantic angle definitely doesn't work, as Menounos offers a completely wooden performance and seems entirely unsure about how to act against Kennedy's frantic effort. As for Kennedy, he once again throws himself into the role, but it's dismaying that he can't seem to choose better material for himself. He's capable of being funny, but Kennedy seriously needs to stop doing variations on the same character and search out better material. Rosenbaum, who's shown himself capable of being very funny, is barely in the movie.
"Kickin' It Old Skool" is a dissapointment, as the concept could have potentially been worked into something really funny. As is, Kennedy manages to get a few chuckles through sheer force of will, but the movie otherwise just sinks under the weak script and unnecessary length.
VIDEO: "Kickin' It Old Skool" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered very good image quality, with fine sharpness/detail and only a little bit of shimmering. However, this is still not the final copy and unfortunately, I cannot make any final comments on it, as the final copy may offer differing image quality.
SOUND: "Kickin' It Old Skool" is presented by 20th Century Fox in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's sound mix was generally a "comedy mix"-style presentation, with minimal use of the surrounds. Music in some scenes could sound flat and lacked ooomph. Audio quality was otherwise fine, with clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes.
Final Thoughts: "Kickin' It" sees Kennedy in need of new comedy moves, as even a high-energy performance from Kennedy can't save the script. The DVD offers minimal extras.