The Emperor's Club

Rated NR

Kevin Kline takes a crack at being the 2002 version of Robin Williams’ 1989 Dead Poets Society character, but his phony Mr. Prim and Proper accent floats in and out like his career in this script that is far from royalty. Based on Ethan Canin’s short story, "The Palace Thief," Kline stars as a straight and narrow Western civilizations professor at an all-boys school in 1972. He tries to motivate an apathetic delinquent by deceitfully enlisting him into the traditional Julius Caesar contest where toga-clad contestants simulate an anti-climatic round of parochial school Jeopardy. However, when the young troublemaker ends up doing some deceiving of his own by writing the answers in strategically placed areas, the film oddly fast-forwards 25 years in order to give make-up artists an exercise in aging characters. Viewers are left hanging, completely disoriented, and must endure another tiresome Q & A competition. Writer Neil Tolkin starts off with strong potential, but he quickly loses his focus and obviously becomes bored as he pens each page, like audience members as they view each scene.

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