x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

If I Had Known I Was a Genius

Though the film plods along at times, it carries a message about American race relations and the curse of low expectations.

Michael (Markus Redmond) has been pushed down the stairs of his dysfunctional family's Philadelphia home. Then, after he aces an exam, he is accused of cheating. And his mother (Whoopi Goldberg) refuses to give him his IQ test results, supposedly to keep his ego in check. Throughout the movie Michael, a gifted student, gets pushed down the proverbial stairs of life by nearly everyone he knows for not fitting into a category. He's castigated for being smart by the other black kids in his neighbourhood and, when he's transferred to a different school, singled out by white classmates. Michael eventually finds appreciation in a high school drama class and through puppy love with the beautiful blonde Stephanie (Tara Reid). Acting becomes his salvation when he lands a gig on a hit television series, but it is promptly cancelled. Michael's life hits a tailspin and he ends up working at a bulk-buy store. Though the film plods along at times, it carries a message about American race relations and the curse of low expectations. Instead of looking for a scapegoat, If I Had Known I Was a Genius offers viewers another idea: perhaps Michael isn't a failure at all. Like its main character, the film stays true to itself.