“Bad Education”


Metacritic (7/10), Rotten Tomatoes (***+)

Despite a slow opening, this fact-based tale about the largest school funding embezzlement case in US history manages to get on track about 30 minutes in and runs with it from there to its gripping conclusion. Director Cory Finley’s second outing, a made-for-cable offering nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay, features strong performances by Allison Janney, Ray Romano and Hugh Jackman (easily a career best) in bringing the material to life with snappy wit, unbridled guile, and the well-honed, carefully camouflaged skills of slick sociopaths. While the picture’s overall tone could use a better balance in its mix of comedy and drama, more back story, and improved handling of some of its ancillary story threads, this production nevertheless delivers the goods, providing viewers with a solidly entertaining package.