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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Safety Patrol (1998)



Reviews and Comments

The early moments of Disney's made-for-TV feature Safety Patrol make one dubious. This is silly, goofy stuff. The surprising thing is, however stupid and idiotic it is, it's funny. The story is about a new kid at school -- an eternally cheery lad, oblivious to the disasters he causes around him. His classmates, of course, represent all the obligatory stereotypes -- the bullies that pick on him, the cheerleader he has a crush on, the shy ones who are his friends. But there's also a kid who bursts into song on occasion, believing life should be like a Broadway musical. There's a drunkard kid whose destructive addiction to chocolate milk makes him tipsy and have bizarre observations about what's wrong with life. The adults in the movie are overacted for comic effect, and most of the time that works too.

The humor is heavy on the slapstick. Some is gratuitous and unamusing, but some of it is frightfully funny thanks to its well-timed mood-breaking. This is hardly good filmmaking, but it did make me laugh at things I normally don't.

Where Safety Patrol steers wrong is right around the midpoint, when the exaggerated peculiarities of being a kid in a new school give way to the stupid subplot about the lunch lady and the janitor involved in a crime. Not only doesn't this subplot make any sense, but neither it nor they are funny at all. This severely hurt the movie for me, although Weird Al Yankovic's bit part at the end is amusing.

My guess is that kids will like this, and adults who don't mind indulging in insidiousness now and again might. It's a tough call.