Movie review of “The Preppie Connection”: Thomas Mann, the invisible “me” of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” plays a preppie drug dealer in this mid-1980s tale of class warfare. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

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Thomas Mann, the invisible “me” of last year’s “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” plays a drug dealer in “The Preppie Connection.” It’s based on a mid-1980s American prep school that was exposed by “60 Minutes” and its CBS reporter, Ed Bradley, who appears briefly.

Mann’s character, Tobias, is a poor kid whose mother pulls strings to get him into a wealth-dominated, hazing-happy campus. He quickly falls for Alex (Lucy Fry), a manipulative blond bombshell already involved with an obnoxious preppie.

Hoping to establish some cash flow and impress Alex, Tobias sets up a cocaine ring on campus that eventually takes him to Cartel Land (a few scenes were shot in Puerto Rico) and some sweat-inducing U.S. Customs inspections.

Movie Review ★★½  

‘The Preppie Connection,’ with Thomas Mann, Lucy Fry, Bill Sage. Directed by Joseph Castelo, from a screenplay by Castelo and Ashley Rudden. 95 minutes. Rated R for drug use throughout, language, sexuality/nudity and some violence. Sundance Cinemas (21+).

Before you can say “class warfare,” the kids are using their families (and all that easy drug money) to turn on each other.

The script’s first half is vigorous enough, with Mann playing Tobias as an extension of the confrontation-avoiding, self-deprecating hero of “Me and Earl” (“The Preppie Connection” almost suggests a sequel). But the movie needs the audacity of a “Trainspotting” to lift it above the norm.