Movie: Bad Teacher (R)
Release Date: June 24th, 2011
Watched On: June 22nd, 2011
Ticket Price: Press Screening
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, Lucy Punch & John Michael Higgins
Director: Jake Kasdan
Runtime: 1 hr. 32 min.
Rating: Wait for the Rental, if Not Longer –
Synopsis: A junior high teacher that only cares about recently being dumped by her rich fiancé has to continue the teaching job she hates. After meeting a new teacher that comes from a wealthy family she ends up in a competition for his affections with another teacher. Her pursuit of money for a boob job and the bonus that comes with being the teacher with the highest test scores on the state exam puts her in further competition with the said teacher, who is the perennial winner.
Review: Bad Teacher is funny in places, but most of the time it’s trying too hard and ends up being crude for crude’s sake instead of for comedy’s. There are way too many groan worthy moments and not enough laugh out loud ones to make this a comedy worth seeing.
The main problem with Bad Teacher, above not being funny enough, is that it lacks heart. The only time this style of comedy works, going for the outrageous and the raunchy, is when it comes out of a story that you care about involving characters that are likable. Something like Segel’s I Love You, Man or Diaz’s There’s Something About Mary. Here Diaz is a pretty despicable person, yet is the heroine of the film and the person you’re supposed to root for.
In this type of story, you would normally be rooting for the rival teacher, played by Punch. As she would be the one that you want to be with the good-looking new guy, played by Timberlake. Yet, this is Diaz’s vehicle, so that isn’t going to happen. But, it doesn’t matter since they made Punch’s best teacher in school character so over the top that you don’t care about her either.
The only likeable character in the whole movie is Segel’s gym teacher, but other than Diaz looking like she does there is no reason he would keep pursuing her. You don’t get a moment at the beginning of the film where he sees that she really isn’t that shallow and vain. Thus, giving us a starting point for her inevitable change of heart, however slight it ends up being, and the ability to root for them to get together.
Overall, Bad Teacher could’ve used a bit more subtlety and a lot more heart. So, I’d wait for the rental, if not longer. If you’re looking for this style of comedy this weekend, you’d be much better off going to see Bridesmaids, even for a second time. Or, if it’s Cameron Diaz you want to see, then watch There’s Something About Mary again. They both have what this one lacks.