Sunday, 6 November 2011

Bad Teacher

Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is a bad teacher. She drinks, smokes marijuana and has a need for speed. Ms Halsey decides to quit teaching to live on the money of her rich fiancé but when he soon realizes that it's all about the money he dumps her leaving Ms Halsey with nothing else to do but return to teaching and return to her annoying colleagues, the unbelievably over enthusiastic, infuriatingly irritating Amy Squirrel (even the name is annoying) played by Lucy Punch and gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel) who makes constant advances on Ms Halsey and is constantly knocked back. Ms Halsey also wants to enlarge her breasts but does not have the money and decides to raise the money in a manner of ways. Ms Halsey also becomes attracted to the new supply teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake).

If you can get over the obstacle of believing that Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake are teachers at a secondary school then there is very little worthy to find on the other side. Bad Teacher is very much in the Judd Apatow's camp of comedy, crude language and fart gags but Bad Teacher is a softer version of Judd Apatow's comedy. Bad Teacher relies on raunchy comedy but the comedy is not raunchy enough to be even the slightest bit risky or shocking. Ms Halsey is a teacher who drinks too much, smokes marijuana (even my former Business Studies teacher smoked a bit of pot) and drives too fast, it's not exactly hardcore is it? She is hardly Ms Trunchball. She is not throwing little girls by the pigtails, neither is she force-feeding fat kids giant chocolate cakes and neither is she terrifying the living daylights out of the kids. The point here is that Ms Halsey is not doing anything that is shocking and it's quite mundane. The film relies on crude humour, as the script does not have an ounce of wit, that is not even that shocking or crude so there will be very few guilty pleasure laughs at the ruder aspects.

Cameron Diaz makes the whole thing even slightly watchable with a fine central performance but here Diaz is working with a script that lacks wit, humour and brains, it's a bland, unoriginal piece that travels though many high school clichés. Ms Halsey is a horrible, repulsive character, she is greedy, selfish and a complete bitch but we have seen this all before, she is a flawed person but not a morally shocking one. Diaz is not helped by some lacklustre support, Jason Segel delivers few very laughs and Justin Timberlake (a perfectly capable actor) churns out his poorest performance to date. Lucy Punch's character is irritating, perhaps that was the joke but it backfired because I found her irritability to be, well, irritating. But again the actors were left with an impossible task working with a script that lacks any inspiring and imaginative input from Gene Stupnitsky (who also wrote the script for Year One) and Lee Eisenberg (who also worked on Year One, nuff' said). The two do not have an impressive filmography (though they are involved in the production of the US TV series The Office, which remains popular) and Bad Teacher is not going to  improve their CV in the slightest.

The major problem is that the film does not have one single memorable joke, which is probably why I'm struggling to remember any of the jokes and the film passes along at just under the 100 minute mark without being all that interesting or funny. Actually, I do remember a joke; Ms Halsey lies about why she split up with her fiancé saying that she walked in on him sleeping with someone else, then tells another she caught him sleeping with his dog and tells another he slept with his sister and a scene where Halsey avoids a crying student is also amusing but now my mind has drawn a blank. To be fair they are both kind of funny. Again, that is the main problem, all the jokes are only 'kind of' funny and the best material that all the cast members, writers and director could create could only invite a few chuckles, which, frankly, is a pathetic effort. There are no belly laughs; nothing of any note that will help Bad Teacher from becoming a bad film which is also an often unfunny comedy full of predictable jokes and a predictable plot that is also a rubbish one to boot.

There have been some pretty bad comedies to come out this year The Dilemma and Hall Pass are two of the very worst. While Bad Teacher may not be quite as dreadful as the two just mentioned Bad Teacher is still a very bad, dull and witless excuse for a comedy film. Credit goes to Diaz as she tries her utmost but is given a poor script that is so poor that nobody could really make anything worthy out of it. Yet, somehow Bad Teacher still managed to scoop up $100,000,000 but whether audiences enjoyed it is another matter. Bad Teacher is a film that won't live long in the memory and not much more fun than an hour of studying your least favourite subject at school.



  1. I cannot for the life of me understand why stupid films like this keep getting made, but I guess Hollywood needs its idiotics to balance out the brilliance that gets released. Good review

  2. Great review Myerla!

    Btw, I would comment more, but for some crazy reason I am not getting updates when you post :P

  3. Shame I was looking forward to this after seeing the trailer (and being a teacher myself). Looked pretty funny but I agree with your review. It was a missed oppotunity. Diaz is good but it could have been a hell of a lot darker.

  4. Thanks guy.

    Pete, out of interest, what do you teach?