The Ron Clark Story (2006) (TV)
Matthew Perry proves that he is capable of and comfortable with serious dramatic material in this TNT production based on a true story about a teacher who turns an apathetic and hostile NYC class around through inspired teaching. The idea may sound overly familiar, but it's a noble and winning formula all the same. If it's handled right, one could even say important. The Ron Clark Story has heart and a good script, but the direction by Randa Haines (the award winning director of Children of a Lesser God) is surprisingly weak. The process Ron Clark is able to start with the kids, what he actually does to turn them around, is indistinctly and sloppily presented, and Matthew Perry's performance, which in all other respects is fine, lacks that extra spark which one could expect from a teacher who achieves what Ron Clark does here. Part of the problem may be the somewhat affected acting by the kids, but if you're willing to let these issues pass, the film turns out both rewarding and inspiring.