Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

In the wake of the box office success of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer writer Kevin Williamson was able to get a shot at directing an original script. Unfortunately, that project is this ill-fated film. In the aftermath of Columbine a comedy about high school students attempting to murder their mean teacher was considered in bad taste. To be fair Teaching Mrs. Tingle would have been disposable entertainment regardless of those tragic events in Colorado.

Leigh Ann Watson (Katie Holmes) is the brightest student in her school, but her dreams of getting a much-needed college scholarship are dashed when her mean history teacher, Mrs. Tingle (Helen Mirren), falsely accesses her of cheating. Desperate to prove her innocence, Leigh Ann conspires with her friends Luke (Barry Watson) and Jo Lynn on a plan that will teach Mrs. Tingle a lesson.

Almost nothing works in the film and the story is thin as can be. Williamson was the 1990’s John Hughes in many respects and his seminal work is still remarkable, but Teaching Mrs. Tingle feels off from the first frame. The movie can’t decide how far to take the scenario that it’s presented onscreen. So, the film never adopts an attitude about these characters which leads to audience indifference from the onset.

Director: Kevin Williamson
Stars: Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, Barry Watson

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