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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

HBO’s ‘Bad Education’ gives Jackman a good role

Dan Webster

Hugh Jackman is one of those actors whose talents are so varied that he has trouble finding the right roles in which to display them.

The guy is good looking, built like an athlete, can sing and dance and carry lines of dialogue that express either comedy or drama.

The trouble is, many of the films he's appeared in are … well, not as good as one would hope. How many of us have even seen "Someone Like You," "Kate & Leopold," "Scoop" or "Deception"?

And then … "Australia"? Enough said there.

I would argue that Jackman's best role is as The Wolverine in the series of "X-Men" movies. I was watching "Logan" the other day and was impressed, again, at his ability to bring the needed emotional intensity — and rage — to what should have been merely a throw-away action role.

That said, Jackman is very good in the based-on-a-real-story, HBO-produced film "Bad Education," which I watched over the weekend. He plays Frank Tassone, the school superintendent who manipulated his role in a Long Island, New York, to scam his district out of a reported $11 million.

The movie has other qualities, too, if you're into movies that will test you ability to watch sociopaths work out their devious plans. Recent Oscar winner Allison Janney plays Tassone's partner (whom he sacrifices for his own ends), and Ray Romano plays Tassone's friend and the school board's president (his character is a composite of real people).

But Jackman is the focus. And while he's no Wolverine, he's far better than … well, just check out some of the movies I listed above.