Wish more of my teachers were and looked like this.
Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth Halsey, a scheming and coarse-tongued middle school teacher who gets dumped by her wealthy boyfriend and rebounds by sinking her claws into a handsome substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake). There’s just one problem, though: He’s already dating Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), the most revered teacher on campus. And Ms. Squirrel is not at all eager to hand over her beau, who is slated to inherit his family’s fortune.
Once everybody heard the title and saw the trailer for this, they automatically thought of “Bad Santa”, and how hilarious this one was going to be compared to that one. No comparison.
Considering how much promise this film held due to its premise and cast involved, nothing here really had me laughing as much as I expected it too. This is basically a one-joke movie, but there are different variations of that joke being told, but it just didn’t work here as it has with other films.
I found myself chuckling a little bit at this material but here it was just too predictable at times for me. I knew where this film was going to go right from looking at the trailer, but I still got barely any surprises here, as far as comedy goes. With so many R-rated comedies gunning for that raunchy and just plain nasty kind of humor, this film doesn’t really seem to push the envelope at all and way more outrageous than what it really was in the end.
However, I have to give the film some love in the end because when it seems like it’s going to turn all around and get incredibly sympathetic, it stays mean and nasty surprisingly. I liked this because with so many comedies, the sympathy usually works and sometimes it doesn’t. If they got sympathetic with the material here it would have felt strange and forced but surprisingly they kept staying mean and although the laughs weren’t coming like I expected them to, I appreciate at how dark a film can stay.
Cameron Diaz has never been the funniest thing in Hollywood, and here with this role she had so much promise of being the comedic force that so many people have wanted for years. Sadly, she isn’t anything special. She gets into the role very well as Ms. Halsey, and it isn’t that she’s mis-cast, it’s just that none of the real comedy comes from her character and I don’t know who’s fault that it, but it could have been done so much better really.
However, the rest of the cast is awesome. Justin Timberlake is good as the very preppy Mr. Delacorte; Lucy Punch is very strange but funny as the competitive teacher; Phyllis Smith is good as another teacher; and John Michael Higgins has his very funny moments as the school principal.
The best in the cast for this whole film is a guy who is barely even in it, but when he is just had me laughing my ass off. Jason Segel is basically the voice of reason as the school’s gym teacher, and almost every time feels like he’s part of a different movie. All this crazy and insane shit is happening all around with this story, and this guy is just hanging around, wise-cracking up a storm, and delivers his line like a champ while it seems everyone else is trying so hard around him.
Consensus: Here and there, Bad Teacher had me laughing, but not as much as I thought it would have because it goes into predictable, if not cheesy territories, and just doesn’t really push the envelope when it comes to it’s comedy. Still, the cast makes this a somewhat enjoyable dark comedy.