Gym is as much a subject as art theory or philosophy, just without the interest of those two examples. It is a miserable experience. Physical education was the word for it back in the days of secondary schools in England. Not sure how much education you can receive walloping a ball with a foam bat right into the head of a classmate, but it served its purpose. Somehow, it created a real hatred for exercise, despite the benefits and joy of physical activity. That is the role of education at that level. Crush and destroy the potential fun, force the bulk of uncaring students into it, and crash through without wondering whether anyone really wants to participate. Gym Teacher: The Movie does much the same, although the unwilling audience has no choice but to cringe and groan throughout this Paul Dinello feature.
Groan they will. Gym Teacher: The Movie is agony. It is the root canal of cinema. There is no way around how chilling a film like this can be for the mind. Brain rot caught on camera. Stomach-churning jokes that are absent of both set-up and punchline. Performances that notice these issues, but stammer on through regardless. It is the work of champions. Gym Teacher: The Movie is embarrassing not just because the humour is weak, but because the performers are so accepting of this lacking quality. What else can they do? Barrel on through. Heads down, wait for it to finish. Christopher Meloni, bless his heart, tries his absolute best. But “best” is almost impossible here. There is no best in the barren lands of a Dinello feature.
A cursed role for Nathan Kress lies within Gym Teacher: The Movie. His role as Roland is as dated and dull as the name he is fastened to. Bless his soul, but iCarly was never going to offer much in the way of big-name movies. Even Gym Teacher: The Movie feels like a bit of a stretch for that level of influence. His performance is that immediately forgettable structure so many of these Nickelodeon features are. Nicky Deuce was much the same, but that was an excuse for the cast of The Sopranos to come together and brush shoulders once more. Whatever the case, this reunion of familiar faces is grating. Nostalgia pops for those returning to it, but at the time of its release, Gym Teacher: The Movie will have banked on its relatively lifeless production qualities.
It is what it is. Audiences should not apply that thought once those credits gracefully crawl over the screen. Gym Teacher: The Movie is, indeed, what it is. But what it, is nonsense. It does not have the good grace to give audiences that feeling of so bad it’s good entertainment. No director or creative sets out to make art like that, and for it to fall into the category of degenerating hilarity is a small window. Smaller still is the rate of success. Gym Teacher: The Movie is stupendous. It unearths the dark heart of children’s entertainment and tries to champion it as something new, something moving. It is neither, and it makes this coming-of-age feature an inevitable disaster.