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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

For what amounts to a 90-minute sermon for the Nickelodeon set that pillories standardized testing, mandated conformity and bullies of all shapes and sizes, “ Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” is better than middling as it sidesteps the trap of simply pandering to its youthful demo with cheap laughs and silly mugging. The story, based on a popular series of books co-written by crime thriller novelist James Patterson, follows a misfit kid with an anti-authoritarian streak who dedicates himself to breaking every one of the 100-plus petty rules (ranging from no loitering in the halls to no inappropriate written material) in his new school’s “Code of Conduct” handbook.
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