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The Independent Critic

Marvin Suarez
Marvin Suarez, Deja Aramburu, Timothy J. Cox, Sabar Banks
Timothy J. Cox, Deja Aramburu, Sabar Banks
9 Mins.

 "The Teacher's Lounge" Review 
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The greatest thing about reviewing so many indie films is that, over time, you develop really terrific relationships with a wide variety of writers, directors, actors and other film industry up-and-comers. I've been fortunate enough to review several films featuring Timothy J. Cox, a regular presence in quite a few quality short films recently who has regularly submitted his work for review on The Independent Critic.

I love it.

That said, the down side to regularly reviewing an individual is seeing the full spectrum of their work. In other words, you see the good and the bad, the inspiring and the "What were you thinking?"

While The Teacher's Lounge isn't a "What were you thinking?" film, it is a film with a terrific story idea that never really gels into a terrific short film. Mary (Deja Aramburu) is a slacker teacher who does what she can to get ahead without actually doing much of the work. Her boss (Timothy J. Cox) offers her a promotion, but it will come at a rather extreme price.

Perhaps owing to the fact that Hollywood just gave us the bad teacher storyline in, well, Bad Teacher, it's hard not to feel like everything presented here feels timid and bland. The words, created jointly by director Marvin Suarez and the cast, are all spoken yet lack that certain spark of intentionality and tension. It's not that Deja Aramburu's Mary needs to act as outlandishly as did Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher, but rather than slacking much of her behavior seems to come from a place of distraction or exhaustion. If anything, it feels like The Teacher's Lounge is described poorly in its marketing materials. Rather than framing the film with a focus on Mary as slacker teacher trying to get ahead, it seems as if the plot rests almost squarely upon her boss, a predatory creep whose actions prey upon the overworked and unmotivated Mary. By shifting the focus towards the boss, ably played by Timothy J. Cox, the performance of Deja Aramburu resonates more deeply and the tension builds slowly between Mary and her boss.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic