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Originally published Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 3:02 PM

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Movie review

This unfunny teen slasher comedy should be put in 'Detention'

A one-star review of "Detention," a hopelessly unfunny slasher comedy starring Josh Hutcherson from "The Hunger Games."

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 1 stars

'Detention,' with Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Casswell, Dane Cook. Directed by Joseph Kahn, from a screenplay by Kahn and Mark Palermo. 88 minutes. Rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language, some teen drinking and drug use. Pacific Place.

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"It's just high school. It's not the end of the world."

That's the mantra of teen fantasy-comedy "Detention," which resembles a movie less than it suggests an evening of determined, incoherent channel-hopping — with the help of a remote control that's apparently stuck on "random."

If there's a worthless film clip or a musical cue or a celebrity in-joke that hasn't been included, it's not for lack of trying on the part of the director who brought us 2004's cult film "Torque" (which is, of course, prominently mentioned).

That would be Joseph Kahn, who apparently never met a Lady Gaga gag he didn't like. Or a "Freaky Friday" reference or a wardrobe malfunction. Or a mention of "The Breakfast Club," which inspired the movie's title.

Yes, it all comes back to a detention class where teen stereotypes are celebrated and slaughtered, often simultaneously and always snarkily.

Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta in "The Hunger Games," turns up as sardonic skateboarding prom king Clapton Davis. Shanley Casswell is Riley, whose wit-starved diatribes lead nowhere. Dane Cook is hopelessly miscast as Grizzly Lake High School's ruthless principal.

Like a missing installment from the "Scream" series, "Detention" pokes fun at post-ironic slasher conventions, gross-out helpings of gore and, of course, its own meticulously stretched R rating. They're all terrific targets, but couldn't a few of the attacks on them have been funny?

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com

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