Review: ‘Six Minutes to Midnight,’ starring Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench

April 15, 2021

by Carla Hay

Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench in “Six Minutes to Midnight” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

“Six Minutes to Midnight”

Directed by Andy Goddard

Culture Representation: Taking place in England in 1939, the spy drama “Six Minutes to Midnight” features an all-white cast of characters representing the middle-class and various government officials.

Culture Clash: On the brink of World War II, a German British spy poses as an English teacher at a boarding school in England for daughters of powerful German Nazis.

Culture Audience: “Six Minutes to Midnight” will appeal primarily to people interested in stories about spies who target Nazis, but the movie ineptly bungles what are supposed to be the most suspenseful parts of the story.

Carla Juri and Judi Dench in “Six Minutes to Midnight” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench star in a movie about a spy who infiltrates a boarding school for Nazi teenage girls. What could possibly go wrong? In the case of the woefully misguided “Six Minutes to Midnight”—everything. The story’s “mystery villain” is revealed about halfway through the film, and the rest of the story consists of far-fetched chase scenes and shootouts.

The only realistic thing about “Six Minutes to Midnight” is that the story was inspired by the real-life Augusta-Victoria College, a prestigious independent boarding school for mostly teenage girls in the coastal town of Bexhill-on-Seas, England, which is Izzard’s hometown. Augusta-Victoria College existed from 1932 to 1939, and it enrolled German female students ranging in ages from 16 to 21. It was a school intended to foster good will between British and German cultures. The school’s students weren’t just any students though: They were the daughters of high-ranking Nazis.

According to the “Six Minutes to Midnight” production notes, Izzard was so intrigued by the history of Augusta-Victoria College, it inspired Izzard to want to do a movie about it. Andrew Goddard directed “Six Minutes to Midnight” from a screenplay that he wrote with Izzard and Celyn Jones. Izzard is also one of the producers of “Six Minutes to Midnight,” which comes across as a bit of a vanity project where Izzard wants to be a spy character who’s an action star, without the suave flair and dazzling stunts of James Bond.

Fair enough, but it’s unfortunate that Izzard was a major creator for this clumsily constructed movie. “Six Minutes to Midnight” also shamefully glosses over the horrors of Nazi evil and is instead more concerned with whether or not Augusta-Victoria College’s lonely spinster headmistress will be separated from her students, as war appears inevitable between Great Britain and Nazi Germany. By the end of the movie, viewers will learn almost next to nothing about Izzard’s Thomas Miller character, except that he sure likes to use the beach a lot as a hiding place.

“Six Minutes to Midnight,” which takes place over a period of less than a month, begins on August 15, 1939, in Bexhill-on-Sea. A middle-aged man who goes by the name of Wheatley (played by Nigel Lindsay) is in a classroom, as he frantically looks for something that’s in a hidden space behind one of the room’s book shelves. He takes out a small box and is visibly upset when he finds out that what he’s looking for isn’t there.

Viewers find out a short time later that this classroom is at Augusta-Victoria College, which is sprawled out on a large property near the beach. As a distraught Wheatley quickly rides off on a bicycle, he is being watched through an upper-room window by the school’s headmistress/principal Miss Rocholl (played by Dench), who’s got that hard-nosed “Don’t try to mess with me” look that Dench has for most of the characters she tends to play. Wheatley goes to a phone booth, where he makes a panicky phone call to an unidentified man.

“It’s missing!” Wheatley shouts. “Don’t you understand? They’ve taken it!” The man on the other line can be heard saying something about duty. Wheatley responds, “They know they’re being watched! I can’t go back!”

So now that it’s been established that Wheatley has been caught spying on Augusta-Victoria College, it’s kind of a no-brainer to figure out who sent him there. The person on the other line was guilt-tripping Wheatley about “duty.” And that just screams “service to the government.”

The fact that Wheatley is a government spy isn’t the mystery. The mystery is what happened to Wheatley, who is shown sitting at a table on a pier’s wooden deck after making his upsetting phone call. And then, the next thing you know, all that’s seen is that Wheatley is missing from the deck and his bowler hat is flying off in the wind. Did he disappear? Is he dead? Did he give his two weeks’ notice? Does anyone care?

Izzard’s Thomas Miller character comes into the picture soon afterward, when he interviews at Augusta-Victoria College, as a replacement for Wheatley. The school found Wheatley and Thomas through the same employment agency. Thomas is greeted in a friendly and upbeat manner by schoolteacher Ilse Keller (played by Carla Juri), who is Miss Rocholl’s trusted right-hand person.

What’s somewhat laughable about this badly made film is that even though there are only 20 students currently at this school, Ilse and Miss Rocholl are the only faculty members seen at Augusta-Victoria College. Where are the other employees? There isn’t even a janitor or caretaker in sight for this sizeable property.

Augusta-Victoria College is portrayed in the movie as a high-level finishing school for girls (they practice things such as poise and balance by walking with books on their heads), but there no servants shown on the premises of this boarding school. After all, how can these Hitler youth practice a bigoted Nazi sense of superiority without “lowly” staffers to boss around? The main indication that the students are in a cult-like environment is when Ilse frequently takes the students to the nearby beach, where the students stand in military-like formations and move when she commands them to, like good little Stepford Nazis.

Thomas predictably gets hired at the school, so he’s technically the third faculty member shown in the movie. However, he doesn’t become a permanent staffer, because Miss Rocholl tells Thomas when she hires him that she wants to test him out on a trial basis first. In other words, he’s a temporary employee. This job interview takes place on August 21, 1939, which is six days after Wheatley has disappeared. By the time that the end of the story happens on September 3, 1939, Thomas will be long gone from his employment at Augusta-Victoria College.

In his job interview with Miss Rocholl, she is stern and judgmental. She asks Thomas about his personal life and finds out that he’s a bachelor with no children . When she asks him, “What sort of Englishman would accept a post teaching Herr Hitler’s legal German girls?” Thomas tells her that his father is German. And it’s convenient that he’s bilingual because Thomas has been hired as the school’s English teacher.

Miss Rocholl admits to Thomas that the school needed to hire someone on short notice because Thomas’ predecessor turned out to be “unreliable.” She adds, “My girls need order. Next week, we present them to the Anglo-German fellowship.” Thomas doesn’t bother to ask her what happened to his predecessor, because he already knows that Wheatley has disappeared. Thomas and the rest of the school will eventually find out what happened to Wheatley.

“Six Minutes to Midnight” has some filler and predictable scenes that always seem to be in movies where one of the main locations is a school for teenagers. There’s the stereotypical “mean girl”/queen bee student, whose name is Astrid (played Maria Dragus). And there’s the socially awkward outcast student, whose name is Gretel (played by Tijan Marei). The rest of the students are written with indistinguishable personalities. And most of the students do not have any speaking lines in the movie.

Astrid and Gretel are written as such extreme opposites that their characters are almost caricatures. Astrid is the outgoing popular student who excels in athletics and academics. Gretel is the shy misfit who’s smart but she doesn’t know how to swim, which is the main physical sport that the students have at the school. Gretel often spends time by herself while the other students participate in athletic and social activities.

Astrid is the type of person who will smile in someone’s face and then make insulting remarks behind that person’s back. That’s what she does to Thomas on his first day on the job at Augusta-Victoria College. Astrid is the first student to welcome him in the class, but later on, Thomas overhears Astrid telling another student with a smirk that Thomas wouldn’t be considered “man enough” for the Fuhrer, in other words, Adolf Hitler.

Meanwhile, Thomas establishes a bit of a rapport with bashful and sensitive Gretel, because he can relate to feeling like an outsider in this stuffy and elitist environment. He notices that Gretel is frequently shunned by her classmates, so he occasionally gives her little pep talks. But Thomas’ interactions with the students are not shown very much because he’s got an ulterior motive for being at this school. It isn’t long before Thomas is snooping around because he was sent to Augusta-Victoria College to find out what happened to Wheatley.

The movie makes subtle and not-so-subtle references to Augusta-Victoria College being a school that taught Nazi propaganda. Thomas finds an Augusta-Victoria College school crest embroidered on a patch, which has a lion flanked by the United Kingdom flag on one side and a Nazi swastika on the other. (This movie uses the real-life Augusta-Victoria College crest.)

One day, Thomas walks by a classroom and sees Miss Rocholl and the students listening to a Hitler speech on the radio. To his surprise, Miss Rocholl joins the students in a Nazi salute while they chant “Sieg Heil!” At that moment, Miss Rocholl and Thomas make eye contact, and she can sense his disgust.

Later, in a private meeting between Miss Rocholl and Thomas, she tries to justify her apparent allegiance to the Nazis. Miss Rocholl has this to say about joining in on the “Sieg Heil” chant: “It means ‘Hail Victory.’ That’s all … Why should we criticize a country that strives to be great?”

Miss Rocholl then tries to appeal to Thomas’ empathetic side by telling him: “These girls are my life. They give me hope. And that’s why I join in when they say, ‘Hail Victory.'” In another part of the story, Miss Rocholl also says to Thomas that she wants to keep the girls as sheltered as possible from the outside world. Can you say “Nazi brainwashing school?”

And if it isn’t made clear enough that Augusta-Victoria College is a training ground for Hitler’s Nazi youth, there’s another scene where Thomas (who lurks quite a bit in the school hallways) walks by a classroom and sees Ilse pivoting a discussion with the students into an anti-Semitic lecture. Ilse starts off talking about how it’s hard to tell from appearances if someone is good or evil. Then she asks the students for examples of how to spot the differences between animals of the same species. And then she turns it into a discussion about how to find out the differences between Jews and Gentiles. The movie stops short of showing her going into details about how to identify Jewish people.

And what about Thomas’ spy mission? There are the predictable scenes of him hiding in places to eavesdrop on conversations. And don’t forget the formulaic scene of Thomas rifling through desk drawers and secretly photographing certain documents with a miniature camera that’s the same size as a modern-day flash drive.

The title of “Six Minutes to Midnight” comes from Thomas using the code 1154 (as in, 11:54 p.m.) to identify himself when he calls into spy headquarters. Technically, if he were using government time codes to signify “six minutes to midnight.” he should have used the digits 2354. But that’s the least of this movie’s problems with logic.

There’s also a fairly ludicrous scene of Thomas having a tension-filled meeting with his supervisor Colonel Smith (played David Schofield) at, of all places, a live comedy show. Let’s see: You’re an undercover spy who’s supposed to be having a secret conversation with your boss about a clandestine mission. And you think the best place to have this confidential conversation is in the audience of a show where you have to raise your voice in order to be heard because someone’s performing on stage while you’re talking. And you’re surrounded by people who could hear what you’re talking about in a theater that’s fairly dark, so you don’t really know who could be eavesdropping. Somewhere, James Bond is laughing at this spy sloppiness.

The very talented Jim Broadbent is in the cast of “Six Minutes to Midnight,” but he’s barely in the movie. His scenes last for less than 10 minutes, thereby squandering Broadbent’s talent. It’s another reason why “Six Minutes to Midnight” is foolish and annoying. Broadbent portrays a friendly man named Charlie, the owner of a private bus service called Charlie Bus Hire. It’s a small business that seems to have only one bus, and Charlie is the driver.

Thomas and Charlie cross paths a few times in the movie when Thomas needs a bus ride to wherever he needs to go. The government didn’t provide a car for Thomas while he was undercover for this assignment, presumably to make his teacher impersonation more believable. A low-paid teacher wasn’t supposed to be able to afford a car in those days.

Charlie is the type of small role that should have gone to a lesser renowned actor. An actor of Broadbent’s caliber should have been showcased more in this movie. It’s disappointing to see Broadbent, who is capable of better and more substantial work, in such a poorly written role that reduces him to some wisecracking jokes that don’t land well at all.

“Six Minutes to Midnight” really falls off the rails when Thomas goes on the run after being accused of a murder he didn’t commit. One of the characters ends up getting shot in front of Thomas one rainy night. Viewers get to see who the shooter is, but Thomas doesn’t see the killer because it was raining so hard and he was in a car when it happened.

After the murder, the shooter ran away and dropped the gun, with the intent to frame Thomas for the murder. And sure enough, Thomas ran out of the car and picked up the gun, right at the same moment that a police officer arrived to see Thomas with blood on his clothes and holding the murder weapon. What a coincidence.

James D’Arcy has the role of Captain Drey, the law enforcement officer who’s in charge of investigating the murder. Captain Drey doesn’t believe Thomas’ proclamations of innocence. Thomas and Captain Drey have the expected personality clashes. And you can easily predict how this murder is going to affect Thomas’ ability to stay undercover as a spy.

Izzard seems to be trying earnestly to be an action hero, but it’s just not believable in the context of how ridiculously many of the scenes are staged. The shootout scenes lack credibility because “Six Minutes to Midnight” is one of those movies where people spend more time talking while they’re aiming their guns than actually shooting their targets. And get used to aerial shots of Izzard running away on a beach, because there’s plenty of that repetition in the movie.

As for Dench and Juri, they’ve played the same types of characters in other movies before: Dench as the no-nonsense taskmaster, Juri as the helpful assistant/sidekick. The acting from the cast members isn’t terrible, but there’s nothing extraordinary or noteworthy about it either. The character of Thomas is very hollow and uninteresting. It’s kind of mind-boggling that Izzard (one of the screenplay co-writers) couldn’t come up with a better character for this starring role.

“Six Minutes to Midnight” director/co-writer Goddard puts some effort into making the scenes try to look artistic. The big showdown at the end of the movie takes place on a beach at night. Some flare guns are used in this scene, to visually stunning results. But those are just superficial effects. The actual confrontation with weapons in this scene ends up being very dull and anti-climactic.

“Six Minutes to Midnight” has an almost flippant and dismissive attitude about the disturbing genocide and other mayhem caused by Nazis. The movie only wants to address the Nazis’ destruction in vague, abstract terms. The characters in the movie don’t really talk about why the United Kingdom is headed toward war with Nazi Germany. Instead, it becomes all about whether or not Thomas can prove his innocence in the murder case and what’s going to happen to the Augusta-Victoria College students.

This movie didn’t have to be a history lesson, but it’s very off-putting that all these characters in “Six Minutes to Midnight” who work for the British government won’t even acknowledge the suffering of the people who are the targets of Nazi hate. It might have been the filmmakers’ way of showing how people were in denial or willing to enable Nazi atrocities. But it’s a weak excuse when most of the main characters in the story are not ignorant citizens and they know exactly why Great Britain is going to war with Nazi Germany.

Simply put: “Six Minutes to Midnight” gives a much higher priority in trying to make viewers care about the comfort and well-being of Nazi youth and their British teachers than it does in trying to make viewers care about the people whose lives were destroyed by Nazis. It’s a completely tone-deaf movie that couldn’t even deliver a suspenseful mystery story. And in the end, “Six Minutes to Midnight” is a time-wasting film where the main characters don’t seem to have any emotional growth because they’re all so emotionally barren from the start.

Review: ‘Get Duked!,’ starring Rian Gordon, Viraj Juneja, Lewis Gribben, Samuel Bottomley, Eddie Izzard, Georgie Glen and Katie Dickey

September 2, 2020

by Carla Hay

Rian Gordon, Viraj Juneja, Lewis Gribben and Samuel Bottomley in “Get Duked!” (Photo by Brian Sweeney/Amazon Studios)

“Get Duked!”

Directed by Ninian Doff

Culture Representation: Taking place in the Scottish Highlands, the comedy “Get Duked!” features a nearly all-white cast of characters (with one person of Indian descent) representing the working-class, middle-class and upper-class.

Culture Clash: Four teenage boys are sent on a wilderness-styled camping trip, where they are hunted by middle-aged aristocrats who think young people are pests that need to be eliminated.

Culture Audience: “Get Duked!” will appeal primarily to people who like wacky and slapstick-heavy comedies that have underling social commentary.

Eddie Izzard and Georgie Glen star in “Get Duked!” (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)

The generation gap between underage teenagers and adults has been fodder for a lot of movies and TV shows. But the absurdist comedy “Get Duked!” makes some biting social commentary about how mass shootings, terrorism and alarming predictions about the environment have created a feeling among many teenagers that the adults of the world have screwed up everyone’s futures, while adults think that teenagers are spoiled, lazy and selfish. This generational animosity is the basis for most of what happens in “Get Duked!,” which cloaks its social messages in a lot of unrealistic, slapstick humor that might seem goofy on the surface. But by the end of the film, it’s clear that it’s a satire of a very real malaise in society.

Written and directed by Ninian Doff (who makes his feature-film debut with this movie), “Get Duked!” was formerly titled “Boyz in the Wood,” in a cheeky nod to writer/director John Singleton’s 1991 South Central Los Angeles drama “Boyz n the Hood.” In the production notes for “Get Duked!,” Doff said that the movie title was changed from “Boyz in the Wood” because of “the passing of director John Singleton and the awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, using the title ‘Boyz in the Wood’ didn’t feel respectful to John’s legacy or the Black community, especially as ‘Boyz [n] the Hood’ was such a meaningful Black cultural moment in cinema. ‘Get Duked!’ was always our working title, and we felt it was better to return to that.”

The four British teenage boys (who are about 15 or 16 years old) at the center of “Get Duked!” don’t come from a gang-ridden environment, but they’ve been sent to the remote Scottish Highlands by authority figures to try out for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a real-life prize that has been spoofed in this movie. Getting the award consists of successfully completing a wilderness camping trip without much supervision, modern comforts or safety precautions.

Three of the four teenagers on this trip are delinquent schoolmates who’ve been sent unwillingly by their school headmaster. Dean Gibson (played by Rian Gordon) is a working-class, cynical guy who’s the delinquent group’s unofficial leader and who believes that going to college is a waste of time. Duncan McDonald (played by Lewis Gribben) is the one who’s the least “book smart,” the most unpredictable and the one most likely to come up with off-the-wall ideas. DJ Beatroot (played by Viraj Juneja) is a wannabe rapper originally from London who keeps pretending that he comes from a “ghetto” background to make it seem like he has “street cred,” but he really grew up in a comfortably upper-class family and his real name is William Debeauvois.

What kinds of trouble have these three boys gotten into that’s prompted them to go on this disciplinary trip? The usual teen delinquency problems: skipping school, vandalism, doing drugs. Duncan, who’s the “wild card” wacko of the group, also blew up a toilet in a bathroom at their school. He brags about it in the beginning of the trip, before they find out that their “toughness” will definitely be tested.

Joining this tight-knit trio of friends at the beginning of the trip is someone who’s around their same age but who’s almost the opposite of these three rebels: Ian Harris (played by Samuel Bottomley) is a straight-laced, homeschooled kid who was volunteered for the trip by his mother “so he can make friends and thrive,” according to Mr. Carlyle (played by Jonathan Aris), the adult who’s been tasked with giving orders and supervising the teenagers on this trip. Mr. Carlyle’s supervision is minimal though, since his only job is to drive them to the place where the teens begin their hiking, meet them at a couple of destination points, decide if any of them is worthy of getting the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and then drive them home.

The four teens are given instructions to hike through the woods, meet at a campsite, (where they are supposed to sleep overnight), and then complete the rest of the trip through the woods until they reach the coastal site that’s the end of their destination. They aren’t given anything except a large foldout map, which they have a difficult time reading because it’s a paper map, not a map they can look at on their phones. And it’s not as if they can really use their phones anyway, since phone reception is almost non-existent where they are in the Scottish Highlands.

Before Mr. Carlyle leaves the boys to fend for themselves, he warns them that their journey could be fraught with danger. He doesn’t go into details, but Dean, Duncan and DJ Beatroot aren’t too worried, since they don’t take the trip seriously at all. By contrast, worrywart Ian, who comes from a very sheltered environment, is paranoid about things that could go wrong. He also insists that they do things by the rules, because he’s serious about winning the award.

At first, nothing out of the ordinary happens as they begin hiking, except that they encounter a low electrical fence. They persuade Duncan to be the one to test the fence’s wiring, and he predictably gets electrocuted. Dean has brought some hashish on the trip, but Ian objects to the boys doing illegal drugs.

That doesn’t stop the other boys from giving Ian some of the hash to eat, without telling him it’s hash until after Ian ingested it. Ian is very upset by being tricked into taking hash, and the other boys mock Ian’s horrified reaction. Dean tells Ian that this trip is well-known as a way for stoners to get high in a remote area: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award is all about getting shit-faced.”

Because Dean is the de facto leader, his opinion means a lot to DJ Beatroot, who asks Dean what he thinks of DJ Beatroot as a stage name. Dean admits that the name will make people think of the vegetable beetroot and that it doesn’t sound like a tough street name at all. DJ Beatroot is crushed by this criticism. When he’s alone, DJ Beatroot pulls up his shirt and looks in dismay at the DJ Beatroot name that he had newly tattooed on his torso.

During their wayward hiking, the four teens encounter an elderly farmer (played by James Cosmo), who is driving a tractor. DJ Beatroot takes the opportunity to promote his music by giving the farmer a postcard-sized DJ Beatroot promotional card. DJ Beatroot has also brought along a CD of his music, which comes in handy later on in the story.

Unbeknownst to the four boys, someone has been stalking them with a gun. And it isn’t long before they find out that this won’t be an ordinary hiking trip. The gunman shows himself when he fires his rifle at the boys, whose main defense “weapons” are eating utensils. And it’s obvious that he’s shooting to kill, as the chase begins throughout the rest of the movie.

Who is this psycho on the loose? His name is The Duke (played by Eddie Izzard), and he’s later joined by his wife The Duchess (played by Georgie Glen), who’s literally his partner in crime. They are aristocrats who are hunting teenagers for no other reason than they think the teenagers who are on this trip must be the type of delinquents who deserve to die. The Duke keeps repeating this mantra: “We’ve got to cull the weakest animals for the good of the herd.”

Not all of the action in “Get Duked!” takes place in the woods where the boys are being hunted. There’s also a subplot showing two bungling local police officers—Sergeant Morag (played by Katie Dickie) and PC Hamish (played by Kevin Guthrie)—who are so country bumpkin-ish and bored that they jump at the chance to investigate anything that might be a crime. They usually make wrong assumptions and blow things out of proportion, based on broad stereotypes. Morag’s judgment is also clouded because she’s desperate to get promoted.

For example, when Morag and Hamish find the four teens’ hash and DJ Beatroot’s CD in the woods, Morag jumps to this conclusion: “Drugs and hip-hop. We’re dealing with a London gang.” And then Hamish calls in a racist report to the department by saying: “We’re on the lookout for 15 to 20 young black males in hoodie tops.” It’s the movie’s obvious satire of real-life racial profiling done by police.

There’s also some other racial commentary in the film. When the boys are being hunted, Dean says to blonde, blue-eyed Duncan that Duncan is in the least danger because “You’re the whitest guy here” and that Duncan is “practically albino.” And when the bumbling cops at the police station get a call about delinquent Duncan being in their area and get a mug-shot-styled photo of him, the cops have his name misspelled as if it’s an Arabic name (Doonkhan Mach D’Naald) and they label him as a “suspected terrorist.”

As The Duke and Duchess are hunting down their prey, he comments to her about the teenagers, who aren’t giving up easily and are fighting back: “We are old. That’s why they’re not scared of us.” The Duchess replies: “When did that happen? We used to be invincible.” Later on, Dean gives a semi-epic rant about how older generations have ruined things for future generations because they’re short-sighted and greedy.

Izzard plays The Duke as fairly calm and calculating, but it’s clear that the actor is having fun with the role in a way that doesn’t become too camp. Glen’s portrayal of The Duchess is more unhinged. Even with their contrasting styles, it’s hilarious to see these two villains’ reactions in some of the scenes where they don’t have the upper hand like they thought they would. All of the movie’s actors are well-cast in their roles and have a great sense of comedic timing. And it will come as no surprise that Bottomley’s Ian character is the one who goes through the biggest metamorphosis.

Many of the characters in “Get Duked!” (usually the adults) are presented as clueless buffoons who are out of touch with the real world and rely on racist stereotypes to automatically judge people. The obvious metaphor of The Duke and Duchess’ deadly hunt is that older generations are callously killing off young people—maybe not by going around and shooting them on camping trips but by destroying the environment that will make the world a much more unstable and dangerous place to live environmentally for future generations.

It’s a message that’s undoubtedly sympathetic to the teenagers, but at times it rings a little hollow because someone like Dean (who’s the most vocal about his disdain for older authority figures) isn’t exactly doing anything to make his life better either. His self-defeatist attitude that he’s doomed to a life of bleak despair can’t all be blamed on older generations, because he should take responsibility for how he lives his life. That’s not to say that Dean should become a political activist, but he actually does have a lot of the “lazy” and self-centered characteristics that The Duke and The Duchess say they abhor in young people.

However sympathetic that “Get Duked!” might be toward the plight of young people, the movie, under Doff’s mostly well-paced direction, doesn’t lose its sense of humor as it takes viewers on a madcap ride in the teens’ fight for survival. The adults aren’t the only ones to make bad decisions, which is another point made by the movie. In all the finger pointing about which generation is worse, the fact is that no generation is immune from people who embody the worst of humanity. It might be conveyed with over-the-top and raunchy comedy, but the overall message of “Get Duked!” is that the strongest who survive in life are the ones who are not complacent.

Amazon Prime Video premiered “Get Duked!” on August 28, 2020.