Andrew O'Hehir on 'Waiting for Superman':
There's a great deal that's appealing about "Waiting for 'Superman,'" an ambitious blend of hope and scathing criticism that frames the education debate with heart-wrenching case histories of five different families across the country struggling with substandard schools. These range from inner-city Washington, where a parentless fifth-grader named Anthony applies to a rigorous college-prep boarding school in hopes of escaping his failing middle school, to suburban Redwood City, Calif., where an eighth-grader named Emily worries about the academic "tracking" that may set her up for failure even at an attractive and well-appointed high school. Here Guggenheim clearly makes a point that many commentators on education miss: While the system's failings may hit poor kids of color much harder, schools in affluent suburbs aren't necessarily providing a great education to all their children either.
But there's almost as much in this movie that is downright baffling, beginning with the quotation marks in the title (to differentiate the DC Comics Man of Steel from the Nietzschean Übermensch? Or what?) and moving on to Guggenheim's blithe certainty that he has all the answers, and his apparent lack of awareness that virtually every frame of his film is likely to piss somebody off.