Middle school. Who recalls their middle school years fondly? Not many of the adults that I talk to do and while the jury’s still out on how Emily will remember her 6-8th grade years, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is a movie that tweens will identify with.
Based on the Middle School book series by James Patterson and Chris Tebbets, Middle School the movie centers around main character, Rafe Khatchadorian, who escapes the reality of the last two years through imaginative cartoons that get him into trouble with the principal at his new school.
To any school administrator, Rafe, would raise red flags as a troublemaker because of his transfer student status and as it turns out, Rafe hasn’t had the best academic success. He’s had to switch schools and is starting over because he was kicked out of his previous school. We come to learn that this school is the last one that will allow to enroll as a student. Any missteps and Rafe’s next stop is military school.
Faced with a principal whose obsessions include rules and test scores, Rafe gets in trouble immediately for almost everything. Wearing bright colors, standing too close to the school’s beloved trophy case, drawing during a school assembly…You get the idea!
When Rafe’s sketchbook falls into Principal Dwight’s hands and the tyrannical principal destroys it in a bucket of acid, it’s game on as Rafe plots to break single every rule of the school’s Code of Conduct in imaginative ways that end up bringing the school together.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is a combination live action movie punctuated with some animated scenes that’s full of fun pranks that had our family laughing out loud. It features great characters (I personally love Rafe’s love interest, Jeanne, the only member of the A/V Club who reinforces the coolness of glasses and intelligence through her character’s willingness to be different) and has a very strong message about standardized testing that made parents in the audience applaud.
It’s a movie that could inspire some school pranks (so be sure to walk out and remind your kids about what is and isn’t ok so they don’t end up like Rafe!) but hopefully it will inspire them to go to the school library to check out the bestselling Middle School book series by James Patterson and Chris Tebbets to hear more of Rafe’s story.
We received complimentary tickets to a press screening. All opinions are my own.