- Director:Jake Kasdan
- Cast:Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake
- Release Date:July 21, 2011
- Running time:92 minutes
- Film Worth:$14.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
While it has its fair share of cheap laughs, it’s a largely enjoyable romp thanks to the terrific comedic performances.
While her recent list of screen credits includes such misfires as What Happens In Vegas and The Green Hornet, Cameron Diaz can actually be a terrific comedic actress given the right role. And Bad Teacher is exactly that: the titular character plays to the actress' strengths as a ballsy, physical comedienne. Diaz is Elizabeth, a gold-digger biding her time as a high school teacher until she can finally marry a rich man, sufficiently smitten that he won't make her sign a pre-nup. But when she's unceremoniously dumped by her fiancé, Elizabeth is forced to - gasp! - keep teaching. Things start to look up following the arrival of a cashed-up and completely square substitute teacher (a smartly cast-against-type Justin Timberlake, once again flexing his impressive comedic chops), but Elizabeth soon finds herself having to compete for his affection with her ultra-perky co-worker, Amy (the scene-stealing Lucy Punch). Waiting in the wings is the good guy gym teacher, Russell (the always appealing Jason Segel, who has become the go-to actor when someone wants a charming slacker type).
Inevitably drawing comparisons to Terry Zwigoff's 2003 darkly comic Bad Santa, both films take the form of crude, black comedies about raging anti-heroes who abuse their positions of authority and teeter on the edge of irredeemability. Where, however, Bad Santa was sharper in character and tone, Bad Teacher is broader in its comedic style with director Jake Kasdan opting for a more commercial approach (perhaps a result of the fact that his previous comedies, including Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, although excellent, unfortunately flopped at the box office). That said, for a studio comedy, it's littered with a fair share of nasty, vulgar moments (more surprising given the film's arguably lenient M rating) - the crudest being a very unsexy dry-humping scene between Diaz and Timberlake, which perhaps strains a little too hard for laughs. Many of the film's biggest chuckles come via the smaller moments; the casual banter.
While the supporting players are uniformly terrific, this is Diaz's show and she owns it from beginning to end. And somehow, surprisingly, without things ever turning schmaltzy, we end up caring about this selfish, foul-mouthed teacher, even if it's just a smidgen. And in hindsight, that's a pretty impressive feat.