“Surf School” is a bad movie with no redeeming value that should never be watched by anyone. It is a comedy without any sense of timing, or, for that matter, humor. However, if you think the idea of having sex with a monkey is absolutely hilarious, then maybe this is for you.
“Surf School” is like a massive lamprey that gorges on broad stereotypes, and then excretes lazy attempts at humor. It doesn’t release itself until the stereotypes are dry, withered, bloodless corpses, at which time it waits for the next virile stereotype to stumble along. It is a thoroughly nauseating thing to watch, and the concept that it was designed with entertainment in mind is truly repulsive.
“Surf School” follows the journey of a group of outcast high school kids who seek revenge and glory against their bullies through the world of competitive team surfing. The leader of the rag-tag group is a handsome, athletic transfer student who is apparently a near-professional lacrosse player. That, however, apparently means that he isn’t cool by California standards. The rest of the squad includes a fundamentalist Christian who is constantly tormented for being a virgin, a “goth” girl who refuses to communicate for most of the movie outside of glares, a sex-obsessed punk character, and a couple of token minorities that are somehow less developed than the aforementioned characters. If making fun of all of the above-listed stereotypes isn’t your cup of tea, then you are SOL on this movie.
In order to compete in a surf competition against their rivals, the group goes to Costa Rica (I think?) for a week to learn how to surf. That’s right: none of them know how to surf. Their rivals, however, are already competitive surfers. I still don’t understand why this is what they decide to do, but that is the premise for the movie.
The eponymous “Surf School” is taught by a washed-up former pro surfer, who is one of the least funny characters in the history of movies. He primarily exists for gross-out humor, and to pronounce things in a peculiar way. This is a very deep film, folks.
While in Costa Rica, the students stay with two more unfunny characters, who are revealed to be terrorist expat former hippies. They also only exist for gross-out humor, and to occasionally say things with accents. Also staying in the complex are three Swedish students, who are treated like cardboard cutouts and given as little dialogue as possible. This is a pattern for the majority of women in the movie: they get almost no dialogue, and are awkwardly showcased for the camera like models on a runway. Not only is this incredibly lazy pandering, but it also throws off what is already anemic pacing in the film. Even the “goth” girl takes a 180-degree turn in the last act, and becomes a blond, bubbly cheerleader for the surfing team.
This is a boring, predictable, unfunny movie that doesn’t have a firm grasp on what humor is, or how to synthesize it. It clearly attempts to sell itself on sex appeal, but it is all done uncomfortably and strangely: almost like an alien is inhabiting the movie, trying to do what it thinks humans find attractive and funny. The movie draws so heavily on stereotypes that many characters have no traits outside of those associated with their race/sex/sexual orientation/clique. It is incredibly boring to sit through due to the poor writing and pacing, and the failed humor makes the entire experience of the film exponentially worse.