Charlie Day has made a name for himself playing frenetic, high-pitched idiots in the Horrible Bosses movies and TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so his performance here—as a mild-mannered, reasonably intelligent high school English teacher—is risky. He’s up against Ice Cube, typecast as a terrifying history teacher who gets fired, blames Day’s character and challenges him to a fight after school. Directed by Richie Keen, whose TV experience includes a handful of It’s Always Sunny episodes, the film is at its best when Day unravels, though there are sporadic laughs throughout thanks to a general sense of cheerful anarchy—it’s the last day of school, and the students are in open rebellion—and supporting characters like Jillian Bell's meth-using, student-seducing guidance counselor. Van Robichaux and Evan Susser’s sitcom-simple screenplay is bogged down by extraneous characters and gratuitous swearing—it’s like the writers just learned about the F-word—but the film’s energetic, almost cartoonish mania wins us over in the end.
Director: Richie Keen
Producer: Shawn Levy, Max Greenfield, John Rickard, Dan Cohen, Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener, Samuel Brown, Dave Neustadter, Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Marty P. Ewing, Billy Rosenberg, Bruce Berman and Steven Mnuchin
Cast: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, Dennis Haysbert, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Alexa Nisenson, Stephnie Weir, Kym Whitley, Austin Zajur, Gordon Danniels, Bill Kottkamp, Jose Diaz, Tim Johnson Jr., Nicholas Alexander, Charlie Carver and Max Carver