I’m not going to lie; my first thought after seeing the trailer for this movie was, “Oh great another movie about a provocative teacher that is addicted to drugs, drinking, money, and sex.” My judgment was mostly correct for this movie, but I am happy to say that there was a little more plot and surprise to this movie then I expected.
As one has seen time and time again in the trailers, Bad Teacher centers on the very attractive Ms. Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) a middle school teacher who has no interest or skill in teaching who is bent on leaving her school after just one year of working. However, after her rich fiancé breaks off the engagement for her money seeking ways, Elizabeth finds herself back in the trenches of the JAMS staff. The cheap laughs begin to pour in from the first day of school as Halsey has the class watch movies about amazing, honest, and inspirational teachers providing that humorous irony. However, the laughs are also provided by various other characters such as Ms. Squirrel (Lucy Punch) providing that quirky, ridiculous, and energetic one liners and Lynn (Phyllis Smith) who brings that innocent and ignorant comedy to the table.
Halsey’s immature, drunken slanders, and cliché one liners intimidate the kids in the movie, but seem to charm Russell Gettis (Jason Segel) the lowly gym teacher with a heart of gold. Gettis, and most of the audience during the show, found Halsey’s constant jokes to be hilarious, fun, and rather entertaining. Although I found it funny at first, I grew tired of the same comedy and words being thrown at me over and over again, never really deviating from alcohol and drugs. When Mr. Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), arrives the floodgates for sex and boob jokes opens up and is introduced to the audience. Although Timberlake may have performed a fantastic role in The Social Network, his character has been greatly diminished to a naïve, impressionable, boob obsessed nerd who provides a little bit of comedy, but really nothing special. Instead Delacorte acts more as a tool used to spur jokes from Squirrel and Halsey, typically centered on rivalry for the watch heir’s heart.
Despite the flood of vulgar comedy, I did laugh at some other comedic styles found in this film. In particular I enjoyed Segel’s comedy as the dialog was well written and perfectly timed, though a few of his lines matched the same style as Diaz’s character. I enjoyed his interactions with the kids, in particular the sports argument with one of his students. The comedy styles of Diaz were okay for me, but nothing really new of what we have seen in the past. Diaz still brings that don’t mess with me/don’t care attitude that grew stale with her constant repetitions. However, her sarcasm, devious nature, and her delusional view of herself were entertaining at most times. Lucy Punch played her part well as the annoying, chipper, and over achieving teacher, but I did grow tired of her as well. Many times I think the dialog was written to make her too airheaded or attempting to be too funny, which annoyed me more than anything. However I must admit her Al-Gebra terrorist line was very hysterical for me and cleaver.
Perhaps the most entertaining comedy for me though was a combination of Lynn and Kirk, Halsey’s roommate. Lynn in particular relieved the audience from Diaz/Segel’s comedy by saying some of the most innocent lines ever. Other times, she would take forever to make a decision and her reactions to the consequences were hilarious. Kirk on the other hand provided that dumb and ignorant comedy that made me think of Joey or Chandler from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I was in tears from some of his lines and although he was only in a few scenes, he somehow managed to steal the show for me and make him the highlight of the movie.
The last thing I wish to mention is the large amount of predictability in this movie. Many times I could see the jokes coming or see the direction the thin plot was heading, which made the movie less enjoyable for me. Most of the shenanigans the cast pulled were not the most original and even the changes in character could be seen thirty minutes before they happened. However, I am happy to say that the ending to the movie did catch me off guard and I applaud the film crew for the twist in the movie, though I will not reveal it to you.
Overall Bad Teacher is not that Bad, it’s just definitely not original. The comedy is slapstick, beat you over the head comedy, the acting is lots of fun, and it’s a movie with a good fast pace that keeps it interesting. Throw in some great comedic timing, a little comedic diversity, and of course that classic car wash scene from the trailer and you get a fun Friday night movie. The bottom line is I give this movie somewhere between a 6.5-7.0 and highly recommend it for NetFlix/Red Box. My only advice for those who wish to see it in the theatres is to get there before the trailers start, because I found a lot more laughs in the trailers than I did in the movie.
Until next time my friend, enjoy!