Today I saw Chalk, starring Troy Schremmer and Shannon Haragan.
The film is staged like a fake documentary, which follows a group of teachers and administrators through a school year at an American high school.
Many of the stereotypical things about schools are targeted for laughs (nervous new teachers, the PE teacher being mistaken for a lesbian, gossip in the faculty lounge, etc.) as this is a comedy, but it wasn't quite strong enough to live up to its trailer.
I remember seeing a preview for this a few weeks back and getting very excited. Schools are a big part of my life—I now work at one, I once was a teacher and I am friends with several teachers. The culture is never dull, the stories are almost always funny and there is plenty of natural 'material' to draw on.
But as I was watching this movie, I got the sense they didn't really know how to harness that material without dumbing it down to a nearly slapstick level, and that left me longing for a real documentary to get the job done.
What I found most distracting were the actors' attempts to portray their roles as if they were guest stars on the American version of The Office. Many 'serious' diary entries to what I guess was supposed to be a 'home journal' were spliced in with 'action' shots and that didn't work at all.
The dialogue delivery was intentionally campy, when it should have really been more 'serious' to echo sincerity...THAT would have been hilarious.
They were just too conscious of their characters for it to be flawless.
That said, there were some funny moments—namely happy hour and the history teacher who takes away his student's cell phone.