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By Cindy Widner, March 18, 2011, Screens


Spotlight Premieres
D: Joseph Kahn; with Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke

During one of Detention's many rapid-fire teen-speak exchanges, the heroine claims she doesn't "speak fanboy" – but the movie she's in is fluent in it. This slasher comedy replicates the operatic, overstimulated whirlwind that is contemporary adolescence with both barbed wit and gross-out humor, and power-drilling through its sedimentary layers of pop-culture references is a huge part of the fun. Detention throws out genre clichés by the handful and then subverts them in infinite-seeming variations: A real killer terrorizes a high school by copycatting horror films, and stopping the carnage involves Scream-style self-referencing, time traveling, and experiencing several variations of detention à la The Breakfast Club, all while operating various mobile communication devices. Solid performances and a ridiculous but sufficiently intriguing plot draw viewers in to both the laughs and the suspense, and the intensive genre pastiche will leave some wondering how much they missed. They'll have to wait for the trivia game.

Friday, March 18, 11:59pm, Alamo Ritz 1

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