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'School' skewers arty pretense


Intelligent and robust contempt has become so rare in movies that the first half of Art School Confidential is intermittently exhilarating.

Director Terry Zwigoff, best known for the brilliant documentary Crumb and the uproariously foul Xmas farce Bad Santa (emphasis on the X), skewers not just the jocks who taunt the artist hero (Max Minghella) in high school, but the clueless members of his family and, most of all, the pseuds who surround him at the Strathmore Institute, a fashionably decrepit art school.

Art School Confidential (Sony Pictures Classics). Starring Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, Matt Keeslar, John Malkovich and Jim Broadbent. Directed by Terry Swigoff. Rated R. 102 minutes.

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