The Hollywood Reporter disagrees --
With broad strokes and the most garish colors, "Art School Confidential" lampoons the poseurs, artistes, druggies, burnouts and assorted other ass-pirants who make up an arts institute. With an "Animal House"-ish deportment, "Art School" likely will entertain a sophomoric audience and etch some winning college-kid figures, but art house audiences will be disappointed by its paint-by-numbers storytelling.
Did "Bad Santa's" success taint Zwigoff? I'm not buying it.
Daily Variety is a bit more forgiving, barely --
If the names of director Terry Zwigoff and screenwriter Daniel Clowes weren't prominently credited on "Art School Confidential," this melancholy comedy might be mistaken for an inferior imitation of their "Ghost World." The thematic and tonal overlap between the two films is considerable, and this second collaboration is entirely true to the idiosyncratic spirit of that earlier work. But despite a soulful leading performance from Max Minghella, pic feels insubstantial, echoing without equaling both the coolly ironic edge and heart of "Ghost World""Ghost World" and the incisive art-world outsider portrait of the director's docudocu feature, "Crumb." Breakout beyond specialized niches appears doubtful.
But I'll opt for convenient optimism here, citing The Village Voice's
favorable review (although they note wide displeasure with the film) --
Terry Zwigoff's Art School Confidential, from a Daniel Clowes screenplay, is a satisfyingly bilious satire with two not entirely unserious points to make: (a) most art sucks and (b) this is the case because the controlling institutions are eminently corruptible. The film was disliked across the board. A pity, since the career advice Jim Broadbent's washed-up painter gives to Max Minghella's ambitious student—"Are you a 'great artist' when it comes to fellatio?"—would have easily topped last year's accidental catchphrase: "It's hard out here for a pimp," from Hustle & Flow, which Art School improves on as a meditation on art and fame.
"Confidential" opens in limited release May 5th, meaning those outside New York and L.A. will probably have to wait another three weeks to see it. I'll be there, damn the reviews.