Okay, so I went in with high expectations after hearing the buzz about Chalk. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do? I didn't see Amelie until 4 years after it came out on DVD and I was still disappointed because of the expectations.
The movie started off with some great moments, mostly humorous slapstick/silly vignettes. From there, it sort of got lost in its own attitude ("I'm a cool movie and if I make you laugh, I don't have to prove anything else"). I felt there was an "ode to something" about the whole movie. The opening scene was very reminiscent of the British version of The Office and the documentary 1941 House (where the characters can privately spill their guts to a camera in a special room) and other mockumentary movies (Series 7, Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman).
There were no cringing moments, or happy-for-the-shy-self-loathing hero moments. It seemed to struggle to get through the school year while trying too hard to come up with the next joke or hold the different stories together moving forward. Mr. Lowry was forgotten about during one big section of Mr. Stoop, and I heard a few people do the "ooohh yeah" when he came back on the screen. Generally not good when a character is forgotten that easily.
The screenplay was choppy, probably for reasons stated above. The stories were many, but none of them were emotional investments. That's probably why almost half the way through I started thinking how long of a run I could fit in before Air Guitar Nation.
I felt the movie had it's really good moments that gave us a peak into the social environment of high school from an adult's perspective. What it lacked was inspiration to be it's own movie, to let the characters come into their own being, and to create any sort of antagonistic feelings to keep the viewer involved. It's almost like the movie wanted to be Mr. Stoop - to be our friend and make us laugh. I'm all for laughing, but not at the expense of the rest of what makes a film.