This movie depicts what I am sure every teacher wants to do at some point in their career: totally give up, tell kids to leave them alone, completely skirt through their career on luck and, oh yeah, hit dumb kids with dodge balls! However, good teachers don't actually do this, thus the title, "Bad Teacher."
Cameron Diaz is hilarious as Elizabeth Halsey, a gold-digger who hoped only to "teach" for one year until her rich boyfriend married her and paid her way through life. When life throws her a curve ball she is forced to keep her job, a job every audience member wonders how she managed to get in the first place! This woman not only drinks on the job but openly criticizes middle-schoolers and teaches them through movies. One has to wonder why she ever thought getting a degree in this field was a good idea but you suspend that moment of disbelief for the hilarity of it all.
Alongside Diaz is a personal favorite of mine, Jason Segel, who plays gym teacher Russell Gettis. Russell stands as the only character who knows Elizabeth is a rotten teacher as the rest of the school seems completely oblivious. That is until perfect teacher Ms. Squirrel, yes that's her name and it fits, starts to catch on and makes it her goal to bring Elizabeth down. Squirrel, played by Lucy Punch, fights Elizabeth not only for the title of "Best Teacher," which includes a monetary prize that Elizabeth wants, but for the affections of the new substitute teacher Scott, played by Justin Timberlake. Elizabeth sets her sights on Scott after she finds out he is from a rich family but finds he only seems interested in girls with big boobs. This is when sets Elizabeth's sights on the "Best Teacher" money that guarantees her big boobs and big money from Scott's love. Yes, this is the plot. It sounds absurd and it is but it works somehow.
Perhaps this strange plot is carried by it's absurdity or the non-stop laughter that ensues from the many tactics Elizabeth uses to get her way. Maybe it's carried by the hope that teachers like this really don't exist. Either way, it works! Diaz and Segel make a great on-screen pair as she plays the anti-teacher and he plays the adorable-yet-sarcastic guy who roles his eyes and openly mocks her and anyone else on screen. Lucy Punch plays a great obsessive nut-case as Ms. Squirrel and it's even great to see Phyllis Smith from "The Office" on the big screen as Ms. Davies, a sweet but naive supporter of Elizabeth. Now comes the one thought in my mind that troubles me: why is Justin Timberlake SO weird in this film!?
Yes, this film is a comedy and yes, it is full of CRAZY characters, heck, they have a scene where the teachers are smoking pot in the gym, yet Timberlake annoyed me at times. It wasn't his acting, it was the character. Mr. Goody-Two-shoes, who is simply happy about life, also has a VERY weird side to him that I'll let you find out for yourselves. I know this character is supposed to be off but he is way off the deep-end at times! We can blame the writing staff or Timberlake for this but you learn to accept it along the way. For the most part, his quirks are fun to point and laugh at. There is only one moment where you cock your head to the side and think, "who thinks of this?" I don't need to tell you when this happens. When you see it you will know exactly what I mean!
I loved the acting, loved the twisted jokes and crazy moments and I even found myself rooting for a person I would never root for in real life. You have to love fiction right? You will love the "bad teacher" as you see her softer side, which isn't really all that soft and find yourself wanting her to get away with everything. At the very least men will love her the antics she uses to get her way:
Yeah, we all know that every father wants to go to THAT car wash! Warning, some teachers may find her offensive if they don't simply take this movie for what it is, a comedy! I've heard some people found this movie to be over the top. To them I say, stop suffocating your funny bone and just laugh, it's funny! I was laughing almost constantly from start to end. Also, let's give Diaz and Timberlake some props here; it had to be terribly awkward to play alongside each other, let alone as love interests, since their "big breakup" a year or two ago. If they can put aside their awkward feelings to make this film then people can pull the stick out of their butt to laugh at the hilarity onscreen! Go watch it, laugh and enjoy!
Movie rating: 1 Spoonful- We needed a little sugar-coating.