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Review: No passing grade for 'English Teacher'

Thursday - 5/16/2013, 10:00pm  ET

This undated publicity photo released by courtesy of Cinedigm shows Michael Angarano, left, as Jason Sherwood and Julianne Moore as Linda Sinclare in the film, "The English Teacher," directed by Craig Zisk. (AP Photo/Cinedigm, Nicole Rivelli)

JOHN DeFORE
The Hollywood Reporter

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Craig Zisk moves from TV to big screen with the story of a teacher played by Julianne Moore who sleeps with a former student.

Zisk has directed or produced episodes of standout TV comedies from "The Larry Sanders Show" through "Parks and Recreation." But those series boasted some of the industry's strongest writers; choosing a script by novices for his feature debut, Zisk flounders in "The English Teacher," a comedy whose cringe-worthy moments aren't the kind he might have aimed for when directing "The Office." Commercial prospects are dim despite a fairly high-profile cast and sensational thematic ingredients.

Linda Sinclair (Moore) is the strait-laced title character so immersed in romantic literature that real life can't compete. She silently assigns prospective boyfriends letter grades; none ever pass. When former student Jason (Michael Angarano) brings her a play he wrote during an unsuccessful attempt to break into Broadway, she thinks it's brilliant and convinces her school's drama coach, Carl (Nathan Lane), to mount a production. Along the way, her encouragement of Jason's talent turns to passion, and things start going very badly for Ms. Sinclair. She gets shamed out of school, loses Jason to the play's ing
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