BY JENNIFER WULFF
If you're looking for a fix of Chandler Bing sarcasm, which has been absent since Friends departed, this isn't the place to find it. Instead, Matthew Perry is all sweet sincerity as the star of this by-the-book but entertaining TV movie. Of course, he's also very good.
Clark (a real-life teacher starting his own school this fall) heads to Harlem intent on inspiring some unruly sixth graders. He starts by posting up credos like "Dream big!" and "Take risks!" in the classroom. They promptly trash the joint. Though he's beaten down repeatedly by the brats, Clark eventually proves that foul attitudes are nothing a little double Dutch can't cure. He skips rope with them, raps U.S. history lessons and teaches math by way of Texas hold 'em until all are fully engaged.
It feels a little tidy, and sure enough, a post-credits disclaimer states that "certain time lines have been altered for dramatic purposes." But the movie still earns high grades for giving those feel-good goose bumps you get knowing guys like Ron Clark really do exist. Now break for recess before I get all mushy on you.