Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher, 2011, USA

By Andrew Burns

I thought long and hard for something funny or witty to open this review but this flick just sucked all the humour out of me.  You might think with some top notch comedic talents in the credits this movie would be good for a chuckle or two.  Sadly no, barely even a smirk.

Ok so before I rip into this attempt at a comedy I’ll give a quick rundown of the premise.  Cameron Diaz plays the world’s worst seventh grade middle school teacher, Elizabeth Halsey.  No that’s too specific, she plays the world’s teacher.  Elizabeth is about to quit teaching for good as she is about to marry into a huge inheritance when her groom to be calls it off.  Thinking the best way to find another loaded smuck to marry for his money Elizabeth decides all she needs is to get herself a boob job.  Elizabeth goes back to teaching to save up for her implants and when that isn’t enough she rips off and uses her students to turn a profit.  One fellow teacher catches on to Elizabeth and the two secretly feud back and forth.

Most viewers are going to have a hard time swallowing the terrible messages Bad Teacher has in it.  Diaz’s character has zero redeemable qualities to her so not once would anyone watching this flick root for her.  Elizabeth lies, cheats, steals, back-mails, embezzles, and even drugs people to get what she wants and then in the end she actually does.  Meaning if you walk all over people, and then stab them in the back, happy endings do come true.  To be perfectly honest none of that stuff mattered to me.  I could care less if I didn’t want to root for the main character because she is an awful person.  It was almost refreshing to see a cruel character not do a 180 with their personality after some kind of epiphany in the movie’s third act.  Almost.

No it wasn’t the film’s poor life messages I had a problem with, it was the comedy.  I never found Diaz’s whole reckless bad teacher act funny but I figured some of the other cast members would shed comedic light on this film.  After all, Diaz co-stars with the very funny and hugely popular Jason Segal, arguably one of the funniest SNL host in recent years in Justin Timberlake, and the always hilarious John Michael Higgins.  Yet nothing but some mildly humorous moments scattered too far apart to string together any laughs.  Now a days studios rarely put this many big names into a rated R comedy in fear that it might limited their potential audience.  When this does happen actors and filmmakers normally take advantage of the ability to use of crude and vulgar language and/or situations, but here every bit of talent is wasted on a couple F-bombs and a pair of fake beasts.

If I had to say one good thing about this movie I’d say it’s only 90 minutes long.  Even that being said that’s still 90 minutes I’ll never get back.  I went into this movie with low expectations because I’m not that much of a Diaz fan but I did expect some funny considering her cast mates.  Segal is probably the best thing about this movie and he is only on screen for about 5-10 minutes total, so that right there tells you something.  Whatever laughs you think you might get out of this movie, I assure you just watching the trailer will give you the same results.  Blaming the writing or direction seems unfair so I’ll just blame the movie as a whole.

0.5 / 5 Stars

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  1. I’ve only heard bad things about this movie and unfortunately it has nothing to do with the title. Your review, albeit a more in-depth voice, has reinforced my decision to never waste my time on this film. Thanks guys!

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