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Rushmore (1998)

Max has a new obsession

Directed by:

Wes Anderson

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

Here's a welcome steer away from the recent fashion of jamming big screen comedies full of glaringly obvious gross-out-style humour. "Rushmore", co-written by Owen Wilson and director Wes Anderson, gets its laughs instead from subtlety and quirkiness of character, and does it all with a largely low-profile cast and minimal show-boating.

Jason Schwartzman stands out as Max, the gifted but off-the-wall 15-year-old whose obsession with extra-curricular activities at the elite Rushmore Academy has left him threatened with expulsion by exasperated headmaster Dr Guggenheim (Brian Cox). But, rather than burying his head in academic work in an attempt to save his skin, he instead becomes infatuated with friendly 1st grade teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams).

The trouble is, Miss Cross has also caught the eye of his unlikely chum Mr Blume (Bill Murray), the wealthy industrialist father of two of his classmates. The pair soon become embroiled in an increasingly extreme battle for the widowed teacher's affections, with some strangely hilarious consequences.

Among the similarly quirky characters popping up along the way are perma-serious youngster Dirk (Mason Gamble), Max's easy-going barber father Bert (Seymour Cassel), and Stephen McCole on top form as the potty-mouthed Scottish bully roaming the corridors of Rushmore Academy.

Though relatively short in length, there's a surprising depth to each of the characters in "Rushmore", and the kind of unique inventive script you just don't get enough of in US comedies these days. There are also some terrific performances from the lead players, and Schwartzman has oft been compared to a young Dustin Hoffman for his portrayal of Max – but don't take that to mean this is a copy of "The Graduate". "Rushmore" is very much a work of originality.

It's Got: Laughs in the strangest of places.

It Needs: To be watched several times over to make sure you don’t miss anything.

DVD Extras Try as hard as you like – you won’t find any. Word has it a version of the Region 1 disc is packed with extras and featurettes – but it seems us poor peasants here in Region 2 will have to make do with just the movie itself. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums

Summary

An eccentric, unpredictable, and above all enjoyable comedy. A must-see if you’re a Bill Murray fan, and highly-recommended even if you’re not.

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