Opening today at nearly every multiplex in the Triangle Area:
“Bad Teacher” (Dir. Jake Kasdan, 2011)
If you’ve seen the trailer for this crude Cameron Diaz classroom comedy, you’ve already witnessed all the best lines and all the relevant plot-points. But since none of that stuff was that great to begin with, it’s quite a tiring task to make it through this 90 minute mess of a movie that has maybe 3-4 solid chuckles in it.
Daez plays the foul mouthed, hard drinking, pot smoking, gold digging, and completely immoral title character who gets dumped by her rich boyfriend (Nat Faxon) at the beginning of the movie. She has to return to the job she doesn’t give an “F” about, as the movie’s tagline goes, teaching at John Adams Middle School (JAMS).
Diaz gets through the day by putting on DVDs for her students of movies about teachers (“Stand and Deliver”, “Lean On Me”, “Dangerous Minds, etc.) while she drinks from mini liquor bottles or sleeps at her desk.
As the school’s gym teacher, a smirking Jason Segel clearly has the hots for Diaz, but she’s got her eyes on a Justin Timberlake as a nerdy substitute teacher. Lucy Punch plays a goofy goody two-shoes rival colleague of Diaz’s, who is also after Timberlake’s affections.
The sloppy narrative concerns Diaz trying to raise money for breast implants. That’s right, that’s the plot. She puts on a sexy car wash complete with a rock video (or beer commercial) style montage. She steals standardized test answers so her class can get the highest scores and she can receive a large cash reward. She, uh, does wacky corrupt stuff for her own selfish purposes – you got it, right?
Unfortunately, precious little of this is funny. Diaz doesn’t really bring anything but the bare minimum effort to her role, Timberlake is likable but not believable, Punch’s punching bag of a part is too cartoonish, and only Segel seems to have the right laid-back approach to this lazy lackluster material.
“Bad Teacher” feels like a series of deleted scenes on a lame comedy’s DVD special features menu. The kind you watch and think ‘I can see why they cut that. Because it didn’t work.’
That pretty much sums it up – much like its superficial and pathetic protagonist, “Bad Teacher” rarely works.