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The made-in-Utah teen comedy "Tim Timmerman: Hope of America" is a smile-inducing throwback to John Hughes high-school movies of the 1980s — some effervescent fun centered on a self-centered slacker.

Tim Timmerman (Eddie Perino, from Disney XD's "Lab Rats") is the popular student-body president at Utah's Monte Vista High School in 1994. He doesn't really like the job and is the first to admit he's not very good at it — he only ran because he thought it would look good on his college application.

When the principal (Morgan Lund) tells him he's on the verge of impeachment for his inactivity and incompetence, and his guidance counselor (Paul Kiernan) tells him his lackluster GPA will barely qualify him for Salt Lake Community College — forget about his dream school, Yale — Tim is ready to do anything, short of actual academic work, to improve his prospects.

He hears about a scholarship program, "Hope of America," for teens with leadership potential, and sets to brown-nosing the man in charge, Sen. Anderson (Laird Hamilton). Turns out the senator's daughter, Sydney (Chelsea Maidhof), is student-body president at Taft and is everything Tim isn't — thoughtful, altruistic, honest and hard-working.

After Tim and Sydney meet to plan a two-school charity dance, and Tim tags along when Sydney (who is nearly deaf) does volunteer work at a school for the deaf, Tim gets a chance to show he's not all talk. Meanwhile, the teens, in the grand tradition of high-school rom-coms, also find themselves falling for each other.

Director Cameron Sawyer, co-writing with Justin Copier, says much of Tim's story is autobiographical — in that he was Orem High School's student-body president in 1995 and, he admits now, was really bad at the job. Sawyer uses that experience to add a pleasant sense of authenticity to what could have been a grating, stereotypical lead character, the cad who finds redemption.

Sawyer also has an ear for light comedy and invests the story with some fun running gags. The best of those involve Tim's participation in something called The Assassins Game, which forces him to periodically run for his life as he's pursued by a Goth classmate (Anthony DeSimone) armed with a pellet gun.

But "Tim Timmerman: Hope of America" would be hopeless without Perino and Maidhof. He's got a raffish charm, she's delightful as an ingenue, and their chemistry together sparkles.


'Tim Timmerman: Hope of America'

A lazy student-body president will do anything, short of work, to get what he wants in this made-in-Utah comedy.

Where • Area theaters.

When • Opens Friday, March 3.

Rating • PG-13 for brief drug content and suggestive material.

Running time • 94 minutes.