Monday, June 27, 2011

Bad Teacher Review

If you have seen the trailer for Bad Teacher, you have seen most if not all of the funny parts of the film. We have the dodge ball scene, the Jordan/LeBron argument between the gym teacher and the student, and of course some of the more humorous lines. At the end of the day, this film is all about the shock value of seeing Cameron Diaz behave badly as a self-centered and sex crazed teacher.  That’s it.  There is no real plot or conflict here, whatsoever.  Because of this, the film runs a little long in the tooth, even at 92 minutes.
Our anti-hero in this film is Elizabeth Halsey, played by Cameron Diaz.  She’s rude, crude, and selfish to the bone.  After her sugar daddy realizes that she only loves him for his money, he promptly dumps her, with the help of his mother.  This forces Elizabeth to return to her job as a teacher, where she is known for going on autopilot and drinking the day away while putting on movies to distract her students.  Her new goal is simple: to raise enough money to get breast implants.  Yes, that’s the “conflict,” if you will.  While teaching at this school, she befriends a likable gym teacher played by the always funny Jason Segel and a nerdy substitute teacher played by Justin Timberlake. 
The principal at this school is played by John Michael Higgins in an interesting turn as a clueless dolphin lover.  The real star in this movie, however, is Lucy Punch, who plays Amy Squirrel. She brings a crazy energy to what could have been a simple role: the goody two shoes teacher.  She hams it up and brings new life to this otherwise thankless role. Every time she was on screen, she produced genuine laughs with her willingness to commit to the role.  Phyllis Smith from the Office, Molly Shannon, and Thomas Lennon round out a solid supporting cast of characters.  Sadly, the screenplay doesn’t give them anything funny to say or anything funny to do.  The film is a series of random scenes that begin and end with no real rhyme or reason.
At the end of the day, Bad Teacher is not a bad movie.  It’s an uninspired movie that never really puts the pedal to the metal and takes off.  It lingers around, producing laughs every ten to fifteen minutes, but not nearly enough to keep your interest.  When the movie ends, it sort of erases from your memory instantly.  Nothing memorable really occurred, but you can’t say you hated it, either. 
I’ve never been a big Cameron Diaz fan, and this film did little to change my mind.  Yes, she’s saying some vulgar and off color remarks, but I didn’t feel like it was something her character would have said.  It felt like the screenplay just put them in there to gain a forced laugh. Timberlake is forgettable as the nerdy sub.  He’s just there because he’s Justin Timberlake.  Jason Segel made me smile every time he was on screen, and I wish he had a bigger role because he’s effortless with his comedy.  Actually, I would have loved to have seen a movie with just Jason Segel and Lucy Punch.  Their characters and their brand of comedy would have made an interesting movie.
Grade: C+
How should you see it? Rent it.

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