Bad Teacher

  • 2011-08-03
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: Jake Kasdan

This Cameron Diaz starring feature is yet another gross-out comedy, the type of which has been littering the screen over the past few months. And it’s pretty much a check list of everything you would expect with plenty of rude words, lots of references to bodily functions and an extra added bonus of plenty of drug use. Unfortunately, also as you’d expect given many of the comedies released this year, it isn’t really that funny.

Elizabeth Halsey is a teacher who, as the film’s tag line suggests, couldn’t give a ‘F.’ However, thanks to a failed relationship and the lack of eligible bachelors with huge amounts of money, Elizabeth finds herself working at an American middle school where she smokes, drinks and gives her students films to watch during class. After meeting wealthy substitute teacher Scott (Justin Timberlake who, considering they were in a relationship for many years, has surprisingly little chemistry with Diaz) she plans to seduce him (with the help of some new surgically enhanced breasts) and live the high life. However, thanks to the plans of rival teacher Amy, Elizabeth may be faced with the horror of actually trying to become a good teacher.

Diaz is impressively brazen and uncaring in the lead and – whilst it’s fun to watch her generally cursing all over the place and acting in a hugely inappropriate manner – her character is the film’s biggest downfall. To place an anti-hero at the center of the action, you have to imbue them with a certain degree of charm. Elizabeth is just thoroughly dislikeable, even when compared to Scott (portrayed as a shallow right-winger) and Amy (an interfering busy body). There’s no desire to see her ‘change’ or ‘grow.’ You just want someone to tell her how awful she is and to go away.

Kadan’s direction is adequate with everything competently done, but there’s nothing here that manages to make you laugh out loud. Could someone tell the current crop of Hollywood filmmakers to find some new jokes?


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