Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Teacher (1974)

Rating: ***

IMDB entry

An extremely lucky young man (Sean) falls in love with his gorgeous teacher (Diane), and before he knows it, she’s inviting him over, giving him alcoholic beverages, and taking him to bed like crazy! Shabam! He’s got it made, right? Wrong. It turns out that some psychopathic creepazoid named Ralph has also got his eye on the lucky lady. He’s stalking this couple like it’s nobody’s business, and also making a lot of false accusations about an accidental death. And he’s one creepy-ass dude!

Despite the occasional stale dialogue and acting by a few of the characters, I found this cheesy film surprisingly entertaining. It runs at a perfect pace with an engaging story, and kept me involved throughout. In fact, I don’t recall being bored or glancing at my watch even a single time!

The story is basically every young man’s daydream fantasy (minus the killings and the psycho guy). It’s sexy at all the right times—which is most of the time. Diane is certainly horny, but she’s also a basically good person, which is what keeps the whole thing from feeling too perverse. Sean is really shy and awkward with her at first, to the point where it’s damn near embarrassing to watch. But as he gets further into the relationship, he stops acting so damn annoying. It’s especially fun to watch this thing in this day and age, where hot female teachers are getting in trouble for fucking their students all over the country. When you watch how things actually unfold on screen, the teacher-student relationship doesn’t feel so “wrong” at all. When the couple notices some old prudes gossiping about them as they try to enjoy a romantic dinner at a restaurant, they simply laugh and toast to them. Why not? They should mind their own damn business anyway!

One thing I found interesting was the decision to add the subplot about Diane’s collapsing relationship with her husband. At the end of the film, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. What’s the point? Why add the scene where he awkwardly calls to say he loves her, causing her to admit she wants a divorce? My guess is that it gave a little more life to her character, and showed how her relationship with Sean is partly a way of escaping from the grim realities of a failed marriage.

Unfortunately, the movie has some bad acting, especially by Sean’s parents. Geez louise! Take some acting lessons! I also didn’t buy the naivete of Sean’s mom (who doesn’t see anything at all suspicious about him going out with a woman so much older than him), or Sean’s borderline apathy toward the death of his best friend. Come on man, shed a tear or something! Your best friend just died, for cryin’ out loud!

In the end though, this was a fun flick with a great story. I wouldn’t advise going out of your way to hunt it down, but if it’s on TV some night when you’re bored, you could do far worse.

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