When NY1 film critic Neil Rosen really hates a movie, he’ll give it “one wormy apple” — and that’s exactly what the teachers at Geraldine Ferraro Elementary School deserve in “Lower Learning,” where the only things worse than the test scores are the jokes. Too raunchy for kids, too sophomoric for adults, this underachiever comedy targets the narrow demographic of disgruntled educators, who might get a chuckle or two out of watching their beaten-down peers stand up to a bullying principal (“The Daily Show’s” Rob Corddry). Extremely limited release won’t be the pic to validate Starz’s new micro-indie theatrical operations.
The antithesis to countless goody-goody inspirational teacher movies, “Lower Learning” features irresponsible adults smoking in class, calling students “retards” and openly hitting on one another while the kids are distracted by an inappropriate sex-ed video. No wonder the school board sends an inspector (Eva Longoria Parker) to shut things down, not expecting she’ll run into an old classmate (Jason Biggs) determined to save their alma mater. Borrowing from the National Lampoon school of humor, most of writer-director Mark Lafferty’s punchlines hinge on doing outrageous things in front of children.