Review Bad Teacher

21 06 2011

A film review of Bad Teacher today which is the new outing starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and How I Met Your Mother’s Justin Segel. Bad Teacher see’s a step change from Diaz who has abandoned her usual stunning, goofy, girl-next-door type for a stunning, shallow, badass role. She plays Elizabeth Halsey, a teacher at a Illinois middle-school who wants nothing more than to get married to her rich fiance and quit her job.  The only problem is that her fiance has wised up to what a horrible person she is and decided to dump her tout suite.

Begrudgingly, she returns to teaching and becomes convinced that the only way she will bag herself another rich husband is to get herself a new pair of fake boobs. “But how will she fund them?” is what you’re probably not asking. Well I’m telling you anyway; the highest testing class in the state gets a big fat bonus and she will use her boobs to get a new man in the form of  substitute teacher/heir to a fortune, Scott Delacourt, played by Justin Timberlake.

It’s hardly Citizen Caine is it? Although I’m sure Mark Kermode will use the following adjectives that he uses them to describe all comedies that aren’t lame family movies: “nasty” and “misogynistic”. I wouldn’t got that far as I think Bad Teacher does have a couple of things going for it, Jason Segel delivers his lines with extreme comedic effect and he really carries a lot of scenes. Diaz also gives an interesting performance in a role which I don’t think she’s ever explored before. It’s quite hard to think of Diaz as a horrible piece of work.

With snappy jokes, flirty banter with Segel and a few times when she bothers with any of her pastoral duties in looking after her children, the writers are clearly trying to convince the audience that the character of Elizabeth does have a heart and she’s quite nice really. I wasn’t convinced and I don’t think many other people got a fuzzy feeling in their tummy when things ever went her way in the movie. For a no-brainer Sunday afternoon movie, it actually left me quite conflicted! She carries out several pretty serious crimes but we’re supposed to love her as she’s learning to be slightly less of a bitch.

I IMDB’d the director for this and it’s Jake Kasdan. The movie actually made more sense when I read that he directed an episode of the TV series Californication. It was the ultimate in ‘hit and miss’ TV and the protagonist, Hank Moody, was a loveable anti-hero who was deeply flawed but you still wanted him to get his shit together… sound familiar? It seems Kasdan likes anti-heroes but whereas Elizabeth and Hank are both charismatic and funny characters,  Moody was an impulsive idiot and not a superficial sociopath.

There are some funny scenes in the movie  Bad Teacher but for every funny scene, there was one that was just downright bizarre, a bit of a comedic misfire if you would. Diaz can definitely do comedy and she’s got form. In fact, most of the misfires came from Timberlake, who clearly has a great sense of humour (look up Mother Lover on SNL) but he needs to work on his acting chops.

I wouldn’t get too carried away with all the ethically questionable things that Elizabeth does as after all, that’s the point of the film. I was more disappointed with the writer’s failure to make the audience warm to the character as no amount of Diaz’ comedy timing will get you on board.

There were laughs in the movie but anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy knows what will happen. It’s a very, very similar concept to the excellent Bad Santa starring Billy Bob Thornton so you might want to buy that on DVD instead. But If you’re in the mood to go to the cinema and you go in with average expectations, you’ll have a good time.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: