Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Movie Review: Bad Teacher

I have to admit, I've been looking forward to Bad Teacher since I saw the first preview. Apparently, a lot of people were looking forward to it too because the theatre was packed. More importantly, everyone was laughing. In a comedy, that's always a good thing (in a drama ... not so much).

Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth a woman biding her time as a teacher until she can marry her meal ticket. There’s just one problem … her meal ticket’s mom, who smells a gold-digger. Before she can said ‘wallet’, Elizabeth's been dumped and reluctantly returns to school.

She returns to an overzealous and overly perky coworker Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), an interested gym teacher Russell (Jason Segel), a principal obsessed with dolphins (John Michael Higgins) and a new substitute, Scott (Justin Timberlake) who just happens to be loaded. Elizabeth passes her time in class by showing movies while she plots to get Scott … if her professional, and soon romantic, rival Amy doesn’t get to him first.

The major sub-plot involves, of all things, teaching … well, sort of. Obsessed with getting a boob job, Elizabeth tries her hand at actually teaching when she finds out the teacher with the highest scores will win $5,700. Of course, she’s not going to rely on just teaching ability to get by. Elizabeth goes to great lengths to make sure her class passes.

If you are looking for precocious kids or even hard-edged kids that soften and blossom under the love of a good teacher, you’ve got the wrong movie. This ain’t Stand and Deliver, it’s Bad Teacher and it has more in common with Bad Santa.

I applaud Cameron Diaz for being a real woman and actually looking her age her. Don’t get me wrong, she looks amazing but she also looks like she’s in her mid-30’s . She not been nipped, tucked and botoxed within an inch of her life … yet. Diaz has always been the funny girl and is willing to do just about anything to get a laugh.

Her supporting cast is game as well. Timberlake, consistently funny on Saturday Night Live, delivers here as the object of Elizabeth’s financial affections. I had never heard of Lucy Punch before but after this I’ll be keeping a look out for her (according to IMDB, she’s been working steadily sing 1998 but I don’t remember her at all, not even from Dinner for Schmucks or Hot Fuzz).

There are some really funny moments in Bad Teacher and of course, like any comedy, there are moments that fall flat. John Michael Higgins is usually hysterical but his whole dolphin shtick fell flat for me.

At the end of the day, there were more laughs (and laugh out loud moments) than there were duds which makes Bad Teacher a pretty good bet.

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