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'Kids in America'

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Kids in America
Directed by Josh Stolberg
Slow Hand, opens October 21
Nicole Richie loyalists are sure to be confounded (along with the rest of us) by Kids in America, the weirdly anti-Bush high school "satire" that is also Richie's big-screen debut. Very loosely based on true stories, this inelegant paean to free speech begins with the hunky but misunderstood Holden Donovan (Gregory Smith) getting suspended for a piece of performance art; it then proceeds to rip off every teen flick from Heathers to Napoleon Dynamite. Imploring his students to "change 'da world," straight-shooting teach Mr. D (Malik Yoba) inspires a ragtag band of clichés to stand up for Holden and take down their superfine, student-hating principal. Mislaid attempts at topical humor generally fare about as well as this atomic bomb: "Trying to find talent at Booker High is like trying to find weapons of mass destruction in my anus."
 
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