Straight A’s is familiar territory, tarted up with a lot of coarse language plus some shrewd storytelling.  What distinguishes it is a knockout performance from Ryan Phillippe.  If you saw Crash you know how good an actor he is.  You will remember how much he made of  a small part.  The early scene in which he follows his patrol car mate’s prurient orders in the frisking of the female in a traffic stop is indelible.  His expressive face needs no dialogue.

In Breach he pairs with Chris Cooper.  And what a pair!  Torn between loyalties and tortured by conscience, Phillippe is again outstanding.  But in Straight A’s he is the whole show.  He gives the film its drive and spunk, portraying the ne’er-do-well brother who returns to the family bosom, raising hell and wreaking havoc.  He is touching and hilarious.  Except for one bureaucrat, everybody loves him, including the audience.

He gets good support from Anna Paquin, Riley Thomas Stewart, Ursula Parker, Luke Wilson and Augustin Solis.  But this is Phillippe’s turn, and he makes the most of it.

James Cox
screenplay by David Cole

Until then,
See you at the movies!

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