More Crazy Than Awesome
Indonesian comedy Crazy Awesome Teachers is absolutely fine. It ticks all the boxes for the tropes and cliches you’d expect from this sort of harmless title but offers little to stand out from the crowd.
Questionable third act aside, Crazy, Awesome Teachers muddles along at a pretty decent pace and leans into the same ideas seen in films like School Of Rock and The Chorus. Unlike those two titles however, this Indonesian picture is unlikely to have the same lasting power or cohesion.
The story itself revolves around Taat Pribadi, a man desperate to make a name for himself as an entertainer and stand on his own two feet. All out of luck and money, he returns to his home-town and moves back in with his Father. Needing to drum up some money to make his cruise-ship dreams a reality, he fakes a diploma to fool the faculty at a nearby school.
Now working as a substitute teacher, Taat tries to breeze his way through the day while putting aside the cash he’s earning for the cruise-ship gig. Unfortunately, all of this goes awry when thieves break into the school and steal a whole bag of money. Alongside fellow teachers and students, Taat leads the charge to steal back what’s been taken and save the day.
Joining him in this crusade are the comic reliefs of the team, Manul and Nirmala, while straight and narrow Rahayu levels out the group in a decent way. Young student Ipang also plays a prominent role too, giving a voice for the kids who rally to the cause. It’s all pretty basic stuff and that simplicity comes to a crashing halt during the third act when things are thrown completely into the realm of nonsensical silliness.
Now, as a comedy I do appreciate that these instances of surrealism occur in films like this. Without spoiling too much though, the entire third act plays on a completely different style of comedy that’s jarring to everything else here. This contrast ultimately spills over to the character work and generally feels a bit messy.
Given this is the one element of originality in the movie, it’s disappointing to see this handled so poorly. Aside from that hiccup, most of the narrative follows a pretty archetypal structure that’s very easy to watch. However, it’s also very easy to forget when you’re done with it.
Crazy Awesome Teachers is certainly more crazy than it is awesome. It has a few funny moments and a charming enough story but doesn’t do enough to stand out from the crowd. The acting is pretty good though and there’s just enough to see you through to the end. It’s not genre-changing stuff but it’s a film that just about manages to scrape through a pass.