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MOVIE REVIEW: Whiz Kids

These smart kids barely pass the test

Whiz Kids: Rates a D.
Courtesy photo

This documentary follows three high school seniors from different backgrounds, as they prepare for a science competition and the chance to win $100,000 in scholarship money.

It’s interesting how this highly overrated documentary shows what three smart kids can do if they work hard. You see, in the other highly overrated documentary Waiting for Superman, they talked about how horrible public schools were. These 17-year-olds aren’t from rich families, or “great” schools, yet they’re doing just fine in life. They’re going to do just fine at college, and in their careers. It proves what I’ve always thought – you can be at a horrible high school – if the child and their parents have them working hard in their classes, they’ll probably succeed.

I’m not sure why so many uninteresting documentaries are being praised these days. Maybe I have a higher standard.

I don’t think every movie has to be Hoop Dreams or Spellbound.

Spellbound (not to be confused with the Hitchcock film) followed eight kids that prepared for the national spelling bee. This movie only follows three.

One is a first-generation Ecuadoran girl that seems sweet.

The other was a slightly annoying, precocious gal from West Virginia working on water purification.

The third is a Pakistani immigrant working on fossil dating. He’s a very likable kid that I was really rooting for. Although, it’s hard to say you’re rooting against any child that’s working hard to win a competition.

I’m not sure if the film is hurt by the fact that most people don’t know what the Intel Science Talent Search is. It’s not like the spelling bee competitions, where the local news loves showing footage of young brainiacs spelling words we don’t even know.

You quickly get the gist of how important this science competition is.

I just wish that as we learned more about the kids, it would’ve been more interesting. This is a movie that should’ve just aired on KPBS. Why somebody would want to spend $12 to go see it in the theatres is beyond me.

And nobody that recommends this movie can complain about people that watch reality TV shows that follow folks around. Sure…the models, chefs, singers, or people living on an island probably have half the IQ of these kids. That doesn’t make watching them for almost an hour and a half more interesting – probably less so.

I’m giving this documentary a D.