Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is a 2016 American live-action/animated family comedy film directed by Steve Carr. The cast of the film consists of Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle, Thomas Barbusca, Isabela Moner, Andy Daly, Adam Pally, and Retta.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is a live-action adaptation of the first novel of the literary series Middle School written by James Patterson. The story follows the protagonist, Rafe Khatchadorian (Griffin Gluck), a creative and mischievous middle schooler who moves to Hills Village Middle School after being expelled from several other middle schools in the past. Unsure if he can get used to the new middle school, he has the support of his workaholic mom, Jules Khatchadorian (Lauren Graham) and his snarky yet factual sister, Georgia (Alexa Nisenson). He starts his first day of school encountering the head honcho of the middle school, Principal Ken Dwight (Andy Daly); The antagonist of the film who is a strict yet witty principal (and psychopath) who is in attempt to having his "perfect" school. When Rafe first meets Dwight, the movie introduces the small-role deuteragonist of the film, Leo (Thomas Barbusca), seen in the background imitating the principal. Leo only exists in Rafe's eyes, being that he is only just imaginary throughout the whole film. Leo died of cancer at a very young age, so Rafe copes by pretending that he is still alive. When walking through the halls, Rafe meets the Vice Principal, Ida Stricker (Retta); The accompany of Dwight's strict conduct and another antagonist of the film.
Rafe later heads to his homeroom, where he meets his charismatic teacher, Mr. Teller (Adam Pally), who is the supporting role during Rafe's journey throughout the film. He is a teacher in the school who lets his students be carefree of the infamous ruleset and engages the students to make class more interesting. Rafe also meets his school bully, Miller (Jacob Hopkins); A notorious and mean-spirited bully who makes fun of his art and picks on his last name, Khatchadorian. During one of Mr. Teller's classes later in the movie, Rafe is asked to write about the food chain after being found out about his creativity. His analogy of the food chain shows the true colors of what he is capable of drawing when being creative, which later shows at the assembly the next bell.
At the assembly, the movie introduces Jeanne Galletta (Isabela Moner), a passionate AV club member hoping to run for student council and take action to climate change and later-to-be love interest of Rafe. She is seen only as a weak asset to Dwight, being cut short from her uplifting speech during the assembly. Rafe is the only one who claps for her, but is discouraged to stop by Principal Dwight. Dwight then introduces B.L.A.A.R. (Baseline Assessment of Academic Readiness), an infamous admissions test at the end of the year in which students are expected to have the highest of their grades at the end of the year. As Dwight is explaining B.L.A.A.R., Rafe draws a mockery doodle of Principal Dwight talking like a zombie while walking through a graveyard. The kids during the assembly pass it to each other giggling, soon being confiscated by the vice principal and ending the assembly. Rafe is called to Dwight's office and punishes his actions by destroying Rafe's notebook of his favorite doodles and drawings with all of his past made-up cartoon fantasies. This turn of events becomes Rafe's rebellion to the new school.
After school, Rafe gets picked up by his mom's boyfriend, Carl, A.K.A. "Bear" (Rob Riggle). Bear is a narcissistic, crude, and self-centered scumbag who isn't liked at all by Georgia and Rafe. He bullies their dog, Calvin Giggles, cares mostly about his car, never truly loves Jules, and only wants to move into their house just to not pay for one. When Rafe gets home, Leo "gifts" a new notebook to him and decides to stand up for themselves. Leo says that they should break the rules to get back on the principal's handbook. Rafe and Leo set up many traps under the codename, Rules Aren't For Everyone including decorating the school walls with sticky notes, flooding the trophy case and filling it with fish, dyeing Dwight's hair, and setting the sprinklers off with color dyes inside.
Principal Dwight is furious with these pranks and decides to punish everyone instead of specific students among the school. He took away the arts programs and extracurricular, prohibited bathrooms, changed the dress code to a more strict format, and added many other bothersome rules. The consequences follow to suspension of Mr. Teller's students and even calling their parents. Dwight also accuses Mr. Teller of blasphemy, implying that he helped set up the kids' pranks, firing him. Rafe goes to the principal's office and even says that it's his own fault. Dwight doesn't take account of his student, which leads to Rafe threatening to action to his kerfuffle, which leads to the expulsion of Rafe for setting off false fire alarms as a calling card.
Rafe is being forced by Bear to go to a military school due to his bad behavior in every school he has been to, so then he feels like giving up. That's when Jeanne decided to come in and show that all of the students are innocent. She videotaped Dwight and the school janitor Gus (Efren Ramirez) filling lockers with junk that could be used as evidence to accuse the students of mischief and to better the school's overall B.L.A.A.R. grade. Jeanne and Rafe hatch a plot to trash the B.L.A.A.R. test the next day with help from other students, Georgia, and even Gus. Jeanne planned to give Rafe the tape of Dwight filling the lockers to show to Superintendent Hwang and finally stop Dwight once and for all.
The next day, Bear and Jules break up after she realizes how much of a jerk Bear really is, caring more about what happened to his car rather than the kids. During test day, the students edited the test to make fun of Dwight and the school, humiliating how bad of a person he is. Rafe stands up to Dwight and rants about how much of a hypocrite he is, not following the rules that he made. Rafe and Gus get chased by the principal and try to escape to give the videotape to the superintendent and Mr. Teller. Dwight gets kicked out out office along with the vice principal and also be tried in a court of law. Rafe ends up going back to Hills Village along with Mr. Teller. The movie concludes with Rafe deciding to let go of the imagination of Leo and to get together with Jeanne.
Even though this movie is rated PG, parents in this family movie may also get a kick out of some jokes from this movie.
- Dwight's comment on Norman's stepmom was an implication that he was going to commit adultery
- During the animated scene with Rafe and Miller, Miller did a wedgie move called "The Kardashian", implying that the wedgie made Rafe's underwear look like Kim Kardashian's big bottom.
- In the first car scene, Bear says "eff your 'I'", in which it seemed like Bear is implying the F word
- When Rafe starts contemplating about his old notebook, Leo adds that Rafe drew "expertly drawn boobs"
- In the animated car chase scene, a gorilla was thrown at Dwight in which it's possibly implied that the Dwight's head was up the gorilla's ass
- Speaking of which, Georgia said to Rafe, "..get your head out of your keister", which is more of an innocent way for a kid to say "Get your head out of your ass."
- Such words as "pissed", "crap", and "hell" are said in this PG-rated movie.
- During Leo's poetic speech, he says “Let’s stop the suck! Let’s show them that we don’t give a… What rhymes with ‘suck’?”.
- During the last announcement Dwight makes with rule changes, the camera pans to Jeanne after he says "Including the AV club.". Jeanne then says "Oh sh-", cutting off to a TV background.
- There are several innuendos stated by Dwight during the movie. For example, after the fart bell rings: ”Gus, Could you fix that farting bell? I want my ding dong back!” and after Mr. Teller gets fired, ”Tired of that guy busting my balls.”
- This is most likely pure coincidence, but when when the conversation gets deep with Rafe and Mr. Teller about Leo, Dwight comes up and mentions Rule #34 (It's "don't touch the trophy case", don't worry), which could mean that he thought that a student-teacher "relationship" was building between the two.
- When Georgia is riding Bear's car, she yells when driving, "Yippee Ki-Yay!", in reference to the movie Die Hard quote, "Yippee Ki-yay, motherf***er!".
- Griffin Gluck as Rafael "Rafe" Khatchadorian
- Lauren Graham as Julie "Jules" Khatchadorian
- Rob Riggle as Carl "Bear"
- Thomas Barbusca as Leonardo "Leo" Khatchadorian
- Isabela Moner as Jeanne Galletta
- Andy Daly as Principal Kenneth "Ken" Dwight
- Adam Pally as Mr. Teller
- Retta as Ida Stricker
- Jacob Hopkins as Miller "the Killer"
- Alexa Nisenson as Georgia Khatchadorian
- Efren Ramirez as Gus
- Isabella Amara as Heidi
- James A. Patterson as James
- Jessi Goei as Bella
- Luke Hardeman as Shon
- Angela Oh as Superintendent Hwang