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Teaching Mrs.Tingle

Director/Writer:Kevin Williamson
Dimension Films; PG-13; 93 minutes
Release:8/99
Cast:Helen Mirren, Katie Holmes, Barry Watson

Rising tides of real-life high school violence made the folks behind Killing Mrs.Tingle rename the film Teaching Mrs.Tingle. It's a teenage fantasy of revenge and sexuality that pits three seniors against the formidable disciplinarian Mrs.Tingle (played formidably by a slumming Helen Mirren). Mrs.Tingle threatens poor-but-beautiful-and-intelligent Leigh (Katie Holmes) with a failing grade, which would put her one-shot college scholarship in serious jeopardy. Next thing you know, Katie's in Mrs.Tingle's home along with buddies Luke and Jo Lynn, and they've got the teacher strapped-up, bondage-style, to her bed.

Writer-director Kevin Williamson fails to provide the saving ironic grace he imparted to the Scream screenplays. The writing smacks of juvenalia, and Mirren easily outpaces the kids. Minor psychological battles ensue in the absurd hostage situation, and there's an indulgent Exorcist rip-off, but the movie's only use seems to be that of relieving goofy high-school angst.


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