“I do feel that the movie, for the most part, missed the tone of the original but there is still some golden writing in there and over all it was enjoyable.”
Scrolling through Netflix, I stumbled across a film that looked interesting to me. The image I saw was a man sitting on a see-saw with a child on the other end of the see-saw suspended in the air. I thought it looked funny so I clicked on that image, and what I saw made me very happy. One of the preview images that popped up showed Gil Zabrasky. Now for those who don’t who who this man is, or why I would be so excited to see a picture of him, let me explain. Gil Zabrasky starred in what may be my favourite short film ever, Teacher of the Year. And, after some research, i discovered that Tenured is an adaptation of that short film. I immediately knew that this was a movie that I needed to see. For those who don’t know, the movie is about a teacher named Ethan, played wonderfully by Gil Zabrasky, who recently had his wife leave him. He then must deal with all of his personal issues with the help of his 5th grade class. For those of you thinking that this movie sounds very sad, you can’t be more wrong. Part of the reason I hold the short film so dearly is because it takes really tough issues, and presents them in a way that they are fucking hilarious. But anyway, this movie is not about the short film, it is about the feature length adaptation, Tenured.
(I’m aware this review is going to annoying for some, because I can’t help but draw comparison to the short film. So if you want my concise opinion on Tenured, I liked it. For those of you who like to read what my brain vomits on to these pages, strap in.)
I already mentioned why I love the short film on which it was based so much, but Tenured unfortunately loses some of that charm. It honestly felt like there wasn’t much more story to tell from the short film, but it was stretched to a one hour longer run time anyway. Suffice it to say, the movie felt a little long for the story that needed to be told. The beginning of the movie is my biggest issue. Many of the themes and plot devices presented were very child like. For example, the character of the Principal and her assistant feel like they were ripped straight out of a Disney movie (and not the good kind that you see in theatres, but the bad kind that you see when you go to the video store and you look down at your feet and see the cover a movie with a picture of a dog with a badly photoshopped mouth on it. That kind). By that I mean their motivations and the way they acted were so overt, that it felt like I as a viewer was being pandered to. And though I love Kate Flannery (she played Meredith on The Office), I think she did an absolutely terrible job in this movie by, as I mentioned before, just being too overt and over-acting in every scene she was in. The other actors in the movie were pretty great I found. Especially those who were in the short film, because I feel like they are the best fit for those characters. Other than that, some child actors weren’t great but that is understandable when working that number of children. When I was about 2/3 of the way through this movie I contemplated just turning it off to avoid it sullying it’s predecessor, but I stuck through it and I’m glad I did. The ending portion of this movie is absolutely hilarious and touching, and it’s just unfortunate that the beginning of the movie missed the tone by so much. In general, I think the movie could have been improved if, like in the short film, Ethan’s wife wasn’t in it and instead the movie was about him coping with his feelings. Unfortunately what we got was a series of antics that would be commonplace in any of the thousands of rom-coms that are released each year. You would think that this means I don’t like the movie, but that’s not necessarily true. I do feel that the movie, for the most part, missed the tone of the original but there is still some golden writing in there and over all it was enjoyable.
I give Tenured a B (4/5)