Directed by Mike Akel
Rated PG-13 for some language.
Mike Akel's "Chalk" is a somewhat decent, sometimes hilarious, but often tedious look at high school teachers. Told in the format of a Christopher Guest mockumentary (none of which I like very much either) we are given a teachers perspective of their careers. Beginning with the fact that 50 percent of all high school teachers quit after three years on the job we begin to understand why. The group that is focused on is new history teacher Mr. Lowrey, Coach Webb, other history teacher and hopeful "Teacher of the Year" winner Mr. Stroope, and Mrs. Reddell, a former music teacher that was just given an A.P. job. She rues this job in the future. What begins as a year of promise ends as one that counts down, to the second, the amount of time left until summer. At the same time there are friendships ruined, romances that could possibly bloom, and lessons learns, all outside of the classroom.
This is told in similar fashion as "The Office," complete with awkward scenes of overlapping characters and dialogue. But a lot of the jokes do end up failing, and at times I felt that the mockumentary style was discarded-one of these moments is during a dream sequence that Lowrey has about Coach Webb. There are only a brief amount of talking head interviews, and I think there would have been more had this been a real documentary. But if you want realism, this is very close-with actual students being used, and many of the scenes being improvised as they went along. It's not that this is a bad film-it does have many humorous moments. It just felt like a very long eighty-five minutes. I also just don't think I'm big on the mockumentary, as I always seem to have problems with them. This is certainly a step up from the Guest films, which I detest strongly.