Liver may be good for you, but that never made it taste any better. The same is true of Dangerous Minds, a movie that means well, but one which you keep wishing you liked more.
Based on the book My Posse Don't Do Homework, by LouAnne Johnson, an ex-Marine turned high school English teacher, Minds tells how Johnson (Pfeiffer, dressed down and with too few character notes to play) excites and inspires a class of inner-city underachieves with her passion, caring and innovative instructional techniques. For those of us who have been around the multiplex a few times and seen The Corn Is Green, Up the Down Staircase, Conrack, Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me and Renaissance Man, the movie is retreadsville, right down to the spitballs that whiz by Pfeiffer. Additionally, even though it's based on a true story, the movie's white-lady-to-the-rescue premise seems both dated and patronizing. Pfeiffer, at one point, uses Bob Dylan lyrics to get her students excited about poetry. Uh, wouldn't Snoop Doggy Dogg be more like it? (R)