Movie Review: "Bad Teacher"

Is the Cameron Diaz film just another bad movie? 

Posted: 06/24/2011 12:00 AM EDT
Filed Under Justin Timberlake

Summary: Elizabeth Halsey (played by Cameron Diaz), a superficial, lazy, recently divorced teacher (who hates teaching), is raising money to buy breast implants so she can find a rich man to take care of her. 

Review: It's been many years since Diaz has had a hit movie, and if Bad Teacher bombs, she might tumble down the box office poison trail of doom that knows the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Kate Hudson. Audiences will have to decide for themselves if Bad Teacher, which also stars Justin Timberlake, is so bad it's good or just plain bad. 

Written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, the Columbia Pictures film disappointingly stumbles along between average and below average. It's a film I wanted to like and expected to enjoy, in the way of Bridesmaids, but this teach just doesn't quite make the grade. 

There are peeks of a good film with the solid acting. Diaz plays up her sassy, smoking, pill-popping teacher role. However, her character isn't likable enough, ultimately failing at engaging the audience. Justin Timberlake as a geeky, rich nerd is believable, although I have yet to see him reinvent himself for a role, despite the praise of Social Network. The supporting cast carries the film, in particular Lucy Punch, who plays a neurotic teacher in competition with Diaz—but even her character eventually flatlines.

The film is overloaded with raunchy and sometimes offensive humor, which seems to be all the rage now, but there are no brains to the story. Bad Teacher is 90 minutes of the same punch lines said a billion different ways. While the movie is clearly trying to be campy, Elizabeth Halsey's antics are just implausible, even for the movies. She does drugs and seems to have no brain cells, but when she needs to pull some detective tricks to make her kids the best class in the school district, she is suddenly Sherlock Holmes. For anyone who took basic creative writing courses in college, this is the type of story that would prompt a teacher to demand better character development, a stronger conflict and a bigger climax.

 

The Jake Kadsan–directed flick feels like an underdeveloped script from a high school student. Maybe with a few re-writes and a good teacher, this could've been a hilarious film. If I had to give it a grade? A shaky C, and that is being generous.

 

Bad Teacher is in theaters today.

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