Recess: School's Out
Based on the hit Disney television show, "Recess: School's Out" is a rather enjoyable entertainment that will satisfy both parents and children.
President Bush has issued his "No Child Left Behind" program and some localities are discussing the proposal of lengthening the school year. Of course, the movie's villain plans to alter the moon's orbit doing away with the change of seasons! Out to stop this from happening is the hero, mischievous fourth grader T.J. Detweiler (voiced by Andy Lawrence) and his pals, science geek Gretchen (Ashley Johnson), wrestler wannabe Ashley Spinelli (Pam Segall), baseball hopeful Vince (Rickey D'Shon Collins), military recruit Gus (Courtland Mead) and singer Mikey (Jason Davis, with the singing voice of Robert Goulet). The trouble starts when T.J. is left alone as each of his buddies heads off to summer camp. At first bored and lonely, T.J. discovers that something odd is happening at his school on Third Street and sets out to convince the adults to investigate it. Only his nemesis, Principal Prickley (Dabney Coleman), is willing to investigate and then he mysteriously disappears. T. J. then rounds up his posse and they uncover the outlandish scheme of one DR Benedict (James Woods), a former Secretary of Education.
What actually makes "Recess: School's Out" work is the complicated and wild plot wherein a rogue government official plots to do away with summer vacations. Voiced with smooth malevolence by James Woods, the character comes alive, as does Dabney Coleman's principal, who is at first a nemesis and then an ally. The rest of the relative unknowns voicing the kids do an adequate job, with standout Andy Lawrence (the youngest of Disney darlings the Lawrence brothers) as T.J. He adds enough spunk and vulnerability to make his hero someone to root for.
Granted the animation is not on the same level as Disney's classics but it does surpass the old TV style of the 1950s and 60s Along the way, there are amusing flashbacks to the psychedelic 60s and the soundtrack includes rock classics ranging from Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" to Three Dog Night's "One", both of which will appeal to Baby Boomers. The humor also functions on a dual level that both parents and kids will find amusing. While the plot is far-fetched, this is a cartoon, so anything is possible.
"Recess: School's Out" isn't great art, but it is a pleasant and swift moving cartoon that should appeal to all ages.