on September 02, 2005 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
A perpetually underachieving bicycle cop is given a plum undercover role posing as a student at a swanky college in order to investigate a suspicious death. If unbelievable scenarios were against the law, "Underclassman's" filmmakers would be under lock and key for slapping together yet another one of those utterly contrived action-dramas that Hollywood is so fond of. Atypically, it's devoid of any A-list actors; the best they come up with here is Cheech Marin as an uptight police captain -- a role that should be a lot funnier than it actually is.

Mostly, the film is content to make cheap jokes, playing off the fact that the undercover agent ("Drumline's" Nick Cannon) is the sole African-American on a lily-white campus. There's also a bit of that annoying cop-versus-impatient boss routine familiar to anyone who's watched any cop film or TV show ever. Of course, everything works out for Tracy at the end and they all live happily ever after, except for the viewer who shelled out money for this turkey. Starring Nick Cannon, Shawn Ashmore and Cheech Marin. Directed by Marcos Siega. Written by David T. Wagner & Brent Goldberg. Produced by Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy and Andrew Panay. A Miramax release. Action/Drama. Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references, drug material and some teen drinking. Running time: 94 min

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