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Well, plenty. To Kaye's credit, he tackles a vast and seemingly irresolvable problem: the crisis in America's schools, which has begun to generate both dramas (Won't Back Down) and documentaries (The Cartel, Waiting for "Superman"). But his treatment of the subject verges on hysteria. "Hey, jackass! I axed you a fuckin' question!" shouts one student in a do-rag before marching up to the front of class, getting in the teacher's face, and hurling his leather satchel against the wall. In the front office, a mother bursts in with her daughter, spots the girl's teacher (Hendricks), and gets in her face. "You the bitch that expelled my baby?" she screams as her daughter crosses her arms smugly. "And for what! Because you can't handle her! Bitch, why are you here? You wanna be home with her every day? I don't have time for this bullshit! Racist bitch! Ah'mo sue yo' ass!" A flashback to the offending incident shows the daughter getting in the teacher's face: "Bitch, you give me any more shit in class and I'm gonna have my niggas fuckin' gang-rape yo' ass!"
At the center of all this chaos is Henry Barthes (Brody), a substitute teacher who makes a practice of never staying at any school long enough to connect emotionally with the students. "That bag?" he explains to the do-rag student. "It's empty. It doesn't have any feelings. I don't have any feelings you can hurt either." In case we've missed the point, Barthes lives in an apartment with bare walls and only the most rudimentary furniture. But for all the movie's this-is-where-it's-at aggression, Barthes is a fairly trite character, the walking dead man haunted by a past trauma. The nature of his wound is hinted at throughout the movie, but when Kaye finally reveals it near the end, it turns out to be almost standard-issue. Brody manages to redeem the character with a sharp and sensitive performance, but American movies have been littered with guys like this at least since The Pawnbroker (1965).