(On DVD, February 2014) If you’re going to subvert the expectations of a coming-of-age college comedy, it’s not a bad idea to follow in the iconoclastic traces of screenwriter Daniel Clowes and director Terry Swigoff as they take on the mystique of fine-arts education in Art School Confidential. Max Minghella stars as an idealistic artist trying to thrive during his first year at a not-so-prestigious specialized college, alongside flawed teachers played by such notables as Jon Malkovich and Angelica Huston. While the film flirts with convention (fresh in the big city, our hero discovers girls, makes friends, has academic reversals of fortune and uncovers unsavory truths about teachers), it gleefully plays with them in a second half that leads up to a darkly cynical ending. As a portrait of the strange sub-culture of art school, the film earns its laughs. It’s later on that the film become less and less satisfying, as the various threads are either tied up perfunctorily, or not at all. (Witness one of the early scenes, showing various students by how they arrive at school –rather than introduce characters, it just presents people we never see again.) The details don’t add up to much of a story despite the subversion of expectations. At least Art School Confidential offers a few chuckles, and that’s already not too bad.