Bad Teacher: She Doesn’t Give an “F” (2011)

Posted: June 26, 2011 in Comedy

Elizabeth Hasley believes she has everything worked out in her life, including a man that loves her and has plenty of money to help make sure she never has to teach again. Leaving her job after only one year which mostly included planning for her wedding, she get surprised that her dream will not be fulfilled. Returning to JAMS, she slides back into her role as a “teacher” through the “creative” use of cinema. Spending more time drinking and getting high, Elizabeth is somehow about to circumvent principal Wally Snur’s attention but continually raises suspicions from rival teacher, Amy Squirrel. After the arrival of new substitute teacher Scott Delacorte, Elizabeth starts to at least apply more attention to her life through attempting to seduce Scott or at least raise enough money to purchase bigger breasts. Gym teach Russell Gettis seems to be able to see past her hard personality but Elizabeth seems to not want to quit her quest to get plastic surgery, Scott’s attention and Amy off of her back.

Starring: Cameron Diaz (Elizabeth Hasley), Jason Segel (Russell Gettis), Lucy Punch (Amy Squirrel), Justin Timberlake (Scott Delacorte), Phyllis Smith (Lynn Davies), John Michael Higgins (Principal Wally Snur), Dave Allen (Sandy Pinkus), Jillian Armenante (Ms. Pavicic)

Bad Teacher boasts a solid cast of comedic talents from the well-known A-listers to the more supporting characters. Cameron Diaz plays the misguided Elizabeth Hasley and commits to a hard lifestyle and even harder personality. Even when she is provided with incentives to care more about her life and her future, Diaz is able to maintain a selfish atmosphere of trickery, deceit and laziness. As the gym teacher, Jason Segel has his moments of humorous outbursts but settles into a steady blend of sarcastic observation and being an average joe who is actually a nice guy. Justin Timberlake serves as bit of a tease for Diaz’s character as he sticks with being the well-off do-gooder who is extremely simple and naive. Out of all of the characters, he actually has the strongest comedic performance without being too over-the-top. Lucy Punch (which is an awesome name) is the over-the-top rival teacher who will not stop until she eliminates Diaz from the competition to win Timberlake’s heart. Her methods for teaching would truly be scary to most kids and while she is spot on with her evaluation of Diaz’s commitment to “good” teaching, she fails to think through any of her attempts to prove it.

The concept and vision to create this film is great as it gives summer movie-goers something different from the traditional action films and standard raunchy comedies. Unfortunately, Jake Kasdan missed the mark on ending with a product that would get the audience to actually laugh. While each of the characters have their quirks and there are elements that provide for comedic outbursts, they are either too over-the-top, held back or just overdone. Of the four sexual scenes in the film, two are focused on pure arousal, one is simply a drug infused mishap and the last one is actually funny because of Timberlake’s awkward portrayal of innocence. The scene with Jason Segel shouting at the kid about Lebron and Diaz hitting her class with dodgeballs were ruined by the thousand replays of the commercial. After a while, you were actually wanting to see Diaz get a clue about the mistake of her attitude or get her comeuppance for duping everyone into believing that she was a good teacher. There was a quick resolution provided to wrap up the story but with the lack of consistent laughter through 90% of the movie, there was much left to be redone to improve this lowbrow attempt of teacher-focused comedy.

Some of the acting was good. Some of the scenes were kind of funny. The overall movie ended up being underwhelming.

Dan’s Rating: 1.5/5 (D)

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