Summer School

September 3, 2017 - Before he joined NCIS, Mark Harmon paid his dues by teaching summer school in this PG-13 comedy from 1987. Fellow teacher Kirstie Alley tries to pretend she doesn't like him. And Robin Thomas is the mean, ol' vice principal. Director Carl Reiner is on screen just long enough to set the plot in motion.

Harmon plays Freddy Shoop, the laid-back gym teacher at a high school in southern California. Just as the final bell rings, Carl Reiner, who was supposed to teach summer school, realizes he's won the lottery and takes off. The uptight Vice Principal Gills frantically tries to find a fill-in and corrals Shoop before he can leave for Hawaii with his girlfriend. With tenure on the line, Shoop must teach remedial English to the school's misfits – and they all have to pass the final exam.

The students are the types you might find in any high school – the dumb jock, the pretty dreamer, the nerd, the class clown. As much as Shoop needs them to learn enough to pass, they all need him for something, too. Shoop uses the situation to his advantage, only to realize that there are drawbacks, too.

Overall review: *** This is one of those movies that I watch whenever I come across it. It's entertaining, filled with physical comedy, and Mark Harmon gets to flash his adorable smile. And, despite being made 30 years ago, I think it holds up well. It's not a great movie, but it's better than you might expect.