Movie Review: Adventures in Public School 🏠👩🏻‍🏫

A movie about a quirky homeschooled teen who is overly attached to his mother.

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Judy Greer (left) and Daniel Doheny (right) are mother and son in Adventures in Public School. CREDIT: Gravitas Ventures

This post for Adventures in Public School contains minor spoilers.

Adventures in Public School (2017, directed by Kyle Rideout) is one of those easy-to-watch teen flicks. It follows the story of Liam (Daniel Doheny) who has been homeschooled for much of his childhood life by his mother Claire (Judy Greer). He decides to flunk out of his GED exam after being infatuated by a girl he saw at the high school where he went to take his test.

Oddly enough, he’s allowed to enrol into the public school as someone else—though I’m not sure how that works. Doheny shows that he’s capable of taking on high school teen roles and still be able to portray each character differently—he’s in Netflix’s Alex Strangelove and The Package. His quirky character Liam nails the trope of a homeschooled astronomy loving nerd.

In Adventures in Public School, Liam is depicted to have a really close-knit relationship with his mother, but at times their mother-son relationship felt a little on the weird side… because which mom would teach her son to masturbate? Smoke weed? Get drunk at a high school party? It’s just weird.

I did like Greer as the mom, she made the character very believable; but there was no in-depth exploration of her character—things like her past and current job were mentioned only in passing—and audiences don’t really get to know who she is as an individual. How is she earning money to sustain a living for her son and grandmother? 🤔 These are things that are not explained in the movie, as her role was totally focused on being an overly protective mom.

I felt that there was a lot of lazy writing in this movie—where things are said and happen because it was written that way. How can a kid get enrolled into high school by taking over the place of a female student—Maria Sanchez—whose whereabouts are unknown for three-quarter of the movie? That just seems impossible and unrealistic. Liam even helps the student Maria get straight As? Why isn’t the school system overseeing this? Is this suppose to happen? Also why is there a Australian bully named BDC when the setting is in America/Canada? It’s just absurd how movies think it can get away by slipping things in the story just because it was written in that particular way.

However, I did enjoy how the movie ended its story. Liam eventually retook his GED exam and got shipped off to college, where he unexpectedly meets someone from his public school days. I found this ending to be really cute and fulfilling, and it sort of teaches the audiences a lesson about how the person you least expect to fall in love with becomes who you eventually might end up with.

Rating: 3/5

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