I always kinda thought, back when I was in grade school, that “Show and Tell” was a brilliantly conceived scam. Concocted by over-worked and underpaid school teachers, Show and Tell seemed designed to fill up a portion of the day while requiring a minimum amount of effort on their part. You know, kinda like those old Coronet 16mm movies that would drone on and on in their warbly soundtracks about how a silver mine worked, while us kids — and our teachers — took much-deserved naps in the dark. Man, am I showing my age.
Anyway, recent conversations with my Sister and sister-in-law, both of whom are elementary school teachers, have only confirmed my suspicions. But I say, if the teachers can educate without having to do any actual work, then more power to ’em. The problem is, sometimes this spontaneous education can be a little more informative than they might be like.
That’s what Sara (Megan Edwards) finds out the hard way. Sara’s a perfectly prim and proper teacher living the perfect life…for a Stepford Wife. Recently engaged to Brett (Stephen Davies), a handsome, if dull yuppie — is there any other kind? — Sara’s life unexpectedly lurches towards the wild side when her student Jerry takes his turn on Show and Tell day. Jerry “shows” his class Virgil (Virgil Mignanelli), a burly tattoo-festooned biker who’s pretending to be Jerry’s dad. (Turns out Jerry’s real dad is a charismatic stoner, in a shockingly under-utilized subplot…) Virgil, in turn, then “Tells” the enraptured class about the misunderstood beauty of the tattoo.
While this living blue-collar canvas fascinates the class, Sara is horrified and rushes him out the door. Much like a tattoo, however, once Sara’s been exposed to Virgil, she finds it difficult to remove him from her life. Thus, as the title suggests, an unlikely romance — with all the predictable trials, tribulations and consequences that typically accompany such star-crossed pairings — ensues between them.
There’s nothing wrong with “Tattoo, A Love Story,” save for some occasional self-conscious acting. It’s a perfectly functional; at times entertaining light-hearted romp…that’s also every bit as predictable as a wristwatch. Which means that this would make a perfect Hollywood high-concept, straight-to-DVD romantic comedy if it starred, say, Kate Hudson and Jack Black. The cruel reality for director Richard W. Bean is that his film doesn’t, which means that “Tattoo, A Love Story” will probably fade into its surroundings like a forty year-old anchor tattoo.
Not fair, perhaps. But if we learned anything in grade school, it was that life isn’t necessarily fair.