• Publication date: April 26, 2009

In Order to Live Up to his Father�s Legacy He Must Put his Students Before his Ego

Filmmaker William Dear, the creator of films such as �Harry and the Hendersons� (1987), �Angels in the Outfield� (1994), and �Santa Who?� (2000) delivers �School of Life� (2005), the story of a legendary teacher�s son who lives in the shadow of his father�s success. While that by itself is pressuring, he is also competing with a young, non-traditional history instructor for the coveted Teacher of the Year award.

Filmmaker William Dear, the creator of films such as �Harry and the Hendersons� (1987), �Angels in the Outfield� (1994), and �Santa Who?� (2000) delivers �School of Life� (2005), the story of a legendary teacher�s son who lives in the shadow of his father�s success. While that by itself is pressuring, he is also competing with a young, non-traditional history instructor for the coveted Teacher of the Year award.

Recognizable as Gomez from the comedy sitcom �The Addams Family,� John Astin portrays Norman Warner, an instructor at the fictional Fallbrook Middle School. Norman resided at Fallbrook for 43 years; each of those years students elected him Teacher of the Year until his death. The legend�s son, Matt (David Paymer) followed in his father�s footsteps, earning a degree in education and assuming Norman�s teaching position after his passing.

Students and faculty members anticipated that Matt would perform superbly and win the award, just as his father before. However a fresh-faced history teacher named Michael D'Angelo (Ryan Reynolds) surprises faculty members and wins over the student body, infuriating Matt who believes he should naturally inherit the award. Within a brief period of time D'Angelo forms a casual and friendly relationship with his students, who have now nicknamed him Mr. D.

Desperate to win the award and jealous of his more talented colleague, Matt trails D'Angelo throughout town hoping that he will discover incriminating evidence to use against him. When Matt finds out that Mr. D. is suffering from lung cancer, and has only one year to live, he reevaluates his motivations for teaching, and realizes that there are more important things in his career than an award.

While most high school movies contain battles between other students for popularity and recognition, �School of Life� provides a rare glimpse into rivalries that occur between staff members as well. Through Matt�s jealousy of D'Angelo youngsters will be prompted to evaluate their own prejudices and rivalries between their peers, and hopefully discover that there is more to success than popularity.

�School of Life� is rated PG due to some brief sensuality, adult language, and rude humor. Its runtime is 100 minutes.