Heder is much better looking than his “Dynamite” character, but Roger equals Napoleon in his slack-jawed Chauncey effect -- just without the perm. Thornton is doing “Bad Santa” mixed with his character from “The Ice Harvest” -- a shtick that's mean and funny but wearing thin. Sara Silverman (“Jesus is Magic”) provides a slightly less vulgar turn as Amanda's no-nonsense roommate, and there are a host of pointless, distraacting cameos, including one from Todd Phillips alum Ben Stiller (“Starsky & Hutch,” also directed by Phillips).
“School for Scoundrels” ought to be a good deal funnier than it is, which isn't to say it doesn't have its moments -- it does. It's just that the filmmakers here have chosen to lean on slapstick and stereotypes rather than the wry British wit of the source material. This is not surprising. Director and co- screenwriter Phillips (with Scot Armstrong) is that sort of filmmaker, as can be seen in his films “Frat House,” “Old School” and “Road Trip.” He's never seen a silly bit he didn't like -- or use. Billy Boy Thornton, Jon Heder, Jacinda Barrett, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sarah Silverman, Horatio Sanz, David Cross, Luis Guzman and Ben Stiller. Directed by Todd Phillips. Written by Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong. Produced by Daniel Goldberg and Geyer Kosinski. A Weinstein release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for language, crude and sexual content and some violence. Running time: 97 min.