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Good Student, The (DVD Review)

28 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

good student

Street 2/3/09
Universal/Screen Media
$24.98 DVD
Rated ‘R’ for sexual content and language.
Stars Tim Daly, Hayden Panettiere, William Sadler.

The concept of a socially inept middle-aged high-school history teacher who develops a crush on a provocative female student isn’t particularly groundbreaking or original for a movie.

Or is it?

Teacher Ronald Gibb (Tim Daly) is obsessed with Abraham Lincoln and the Founding Fathers of the United States, to the point that he dresses up in class as the 16th president to recite his inaugural address.

Gibb one day takes notice of Allyson Palmer (Hayden Panettiere) in class after seeing her dressed as a cheerleader in a TV ad for her father’s less-than-honest auto dealership.

As difficult as it might be to accept the handsome Daly as an introvert who distrusts banks and is clueless about a friendly, sexy (and age-appropriate) trailer park neighbor (Paula Devicq from “Party of Five”), Gibb does understand primitive carnal desire.

A humorous attempt to rent porn at the local video store or order a daiquiri at the local bowling alley bar only underscores the depth of Gibb’s apparent clumsy loneliness.

When Allyson is mysteriously abducted in her home after getting a ride from school in Gibb’s new red pickup truck, purchased from her unabashed father (William Sadler, who is perfectly cast), suspicions by police, school officials and Mr. Palmer run amok.

Produced in 2006 under the title Mr. Gibb from Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street production company, the film languished in development until funds could be raised to complete it to capitalize on the mushrooming rise in popularity of Panettiere as a cheerleader with supernatural powers on NBC’s “Heroes.”

Re-titled The Good Student for the DVD, the box art and cover lines (“Scandal is her best subject”) clearly put the focus on Panettiere for obvious marketing reasons, which Mr. Gibb, no doubt, would have found amusing.

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