Movie Review: Bad Teacher

Posted: June 26, 2011 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

While Cameron Diaz had her moments, this movie failed to explore the adorably sarcastic chemistry between her and Jason Segel, underused the child actors, and over used Justin Timberlake who was trying waaaayyyy too hard. Bad Teacher had all the makings for a quality movie, but unfortunately it only scratched the surface, and never wanted to go deeper.

 

Bad Teacher

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segal, Lucy Punch, Justin Timberlake

Premise: Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth Hasley, a teacher whose fiancé just broke up with her. She is forced to go back to a job she hates at a middle school. Elizabeth is down in the dumps, she’s hit rock bottom, until she meets the kids in her class and realizes she can give them a whole new kind of education. Sounds like your typical, “Dangerous Minds”, “Stand and Deliver,” “Lean on Me”, type of movie, right? Wrong. Did I mention Elizabeth was dumped because she’s a gold digger? And is only working as a teacher (doing less than bare minimum) so she can get a boob job and marry rich? Oh yeah, and she could care less about the kids.

My Review: First thought when the movie was over? Oh Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, you deserve a better movie than this! Except for the occasional adorable flirting between Diaz and Segel’s characters, and the brief and fleeting interactions with the kids that show she does care about them Elizabeth Hasley is pretty unlikeable.

This movie works really hard to show what a bad teacher (and unlikeable person) Elizabeth is. And once we know this they never let us forget it, always trying to out-do one bad thing with another. However, I find the different ways she tries to get out of teaching, to get around rules, or to get money for boobs are so intricate and clever and smart, it’s hard to believe she’s really that blunt, stupid, selfish, slacker the movie keeps telling us she is. I actually believe if she put her mind to it, she could be an unbelievably cool teacher. However, we never get there.

Most of the interactions she has with the kids are hilarious. Such as when she’s super honest only with swear words and without sugar coating it, or when she’s pummeling kids with dodge balls (that will always be funny). However these interactions are brief as we focus too, too much on Elizabeth getting the attention of Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake). Timberlake plays Delacorte as handsome but nerdy, sweet but ignorant, do-gooder but easily manipulated, rich but doesn’t let it affect him, substitute teacher. And it’s just too much! His over acting / over-the-top character reminds me a lot of Cam Gidanget’s character in Easy A. If he had just toned it down a bit, we may have actually liked the guy.

The biggest redeeming factor of this movie is Jason Segel. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t have Timberlake’s good looks. He does have his adorable side smile and a twinkle in his eye when he’s acting that shows he’s having fun and not just going through the motions.

Finally there’s that ending. In the last few minutes of the movie, Elizabeth does a complete 180 with absolutely no explanation how or why the change occurred at all. I didn’t buy it for a second. She didn’t learn anything or come to any big realization to make her change her attitude. She just did. The end. I think the real story was in all the parts they left out. It’s like the producers realized they focused too much on how bad of a teacher she was, they said “We got three minutes to wrap this up…GO!”

Overall, I would save this movie for HBO, that way you can fast forward Justin Timberlake out of Bad Teacher completely and only watch the scenes with Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz.  In the meantime, someone find them a better movie, will you?

 

Rating: 2 Stars

 

 

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Comments
  1. loganburd says:

    Great review! But I place just as much blame on Diaz for how awful the movie is. You should check out my review, comment, and subscribe!

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