This warm but forgettable mockumentary, featuring camerawork in the diligently amateurish style of The Office, chronicles the working lives of several of one public high school’s teachers over the course of a typical, harried year. Non-actor student and teacher “extras” play a large part in creating a backdrop that will resonate with anyone who’s had to sit through endless hours of institutionalized schooling. Chalk repeatedly demonstrates its awareness of the audience’s expectations by blithely pointing them out: the short-haired gym teacher immediately expresses her frustration over people always assuming she’s a lesbian, for example.
Such candor is refreshing at first, but it soon contributes to the viewer’s sense that we are merely being told what we already know. While it does manage many genuinely amusing moments, Chalk fails to express the complexity of real human interaction while also failing to take full advantage of the limitless possibilities of a fictional genre.