THE CAT ATE MY GYMSUIT
At its worst, this is a trite and trendy saga of how a junior high English class gets it together to fight for the job of Ms. Finney -- a paragon of an innovative teacher who puts across dangling participles and sensitivity sessions with equal ease. The only relief from cliche is the relationship between lumpish, insecure Marcy and her father -- a frustrated, angry, non-verbal man who can show his love only through providing food and shopping trips. The parent who can't communicate his love and concern is no doubt a more common problem than alcoholism or divorce, but he's seldom dealt with this forthrightly in contemporary stories, where parents, whatever their faults, are usually articulate. Marcy's tense family situation is really the subject here; the instant therapeutic effect of Ms. Finney, a sort of denim, skirted deus ex machina, is a cop-out.