Movie: Teacher of the Year
My Rating: 3 stars
Mockumentaries have been around so long by this point that they’re no longer the novelties they started off as. They’ve become a well-established category of their own, with their own rules, jokes, and clichés. And, this film is a pretty standard example of the genre. Although, this one does seem to be a little more earnest and heartfelt than the standard, snarky offering. That’s not to say that there isn’t the usual amount of gags. The Sklar Brothers deliver their signature, wacky shenanigans as comic relief. They play the world’s worst college guidance counselors. And Keegan-Michael Key is great as the oblivious, yet self-absorbed, school principal. He’s always great when he plays socially tone deaf characters.
The mockumentary follows Mitch Carter, Teacher of the Year at Truman High School. We get to witness the sometimes-absurd difficulties of teaching teenagers in a California Charter School. And, the struggle is real. Not only are the kids usually unruly and unwilling to learn, but the other teachers and administrators also have their own idiosyncrasies. Some teachers curse their fate of not achieving more, and others just embrace the chaos. And, there’s no way to work outside the system. It’s an exhausting job, and the school is sometimes a bleak place to work. So, when a headhunter comes along trying to hire Mitch away for a fancy lobbyist job in Washington, he’s more than a little tempted.
This movie is a strange creature. It’s not exactly a comedy, but it isn’t really a drama either. It’s a weird hybrid of the two, so it ends up feeling like neither. The result is a little confusing. But, it does have its moments. A lot of the individual jokes are pretty funny even if the overarching framework is a little too addled to be so. But, that being said, I’m not sure I’d recommend that anyone go out of his way to see this one. I just watched it because I really enjoy the Sklar Brothers and Keenan-Michael Key. And, their segments are funny—the best parts of the film, really. So, if you enjoy those comedians, and want to see more of their work, the film is worth a peek. But, if you’re just looking for a way to fill some time, I think you’d have better luck looking elsewhere.