New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
Charlie Day is a nice-guy teacher (with a sweet kid and a pregnant wife) in a high school that demands educators who look like Ice Cube and talk with his brand of menace and authority. But even Mr. Cube is not immune to the degradations of Senior Prank Day, and neither is safe from the Administrative axe on this, the last day of school. When Day acts to save his own skin and so gets Cube fired, the fight is, as they say, on — though not for a long while. First, the movie wants you to watch Day sweat, squirm, scheme, and scream as he tries to escape his fate — and fails, and fails, and fails. He succeeds, however, at carrying the film, partly through sympathetic wretchedness and partly through sheer energy. (He also has help from a mostly well-used cast, including Tracy Morgan as a hapless coach, Dean Norris as an exasperated principal, and of course, his co-star, who both mocks and upholds his famed badassery.) The fight, when it arrives, is bonkers, brutal, and almost believable. The film, when it ends, is a little less so. Directed by Richie Keen. 2017.