Thursday, September 01, 2011

Review: Bad Teacher

Everything that could make a good adult comedy is present in Bad Teacher: It has a relatable setting with an unapologetic premise and a game cast willing to go all out but unfortunately Bad Teacher fails to make the most out of it.

Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) was off to marry a rich guy and live the luxurious life she has always wanted but her boyfriend called the wedding off and she reluctantly returns to her job as a middle school teacher. Elizabeth plans to spend this school year like she did the last time: Skating by with barely any effort at all. But things changed when a new rich teacher Scott (Justin Timberlake) arrives and Elizabeth believes that by getting a breast augmentation she would be able to attract him but the operation is expensive so Elizabeth will do all possible ways (regardless if it’s illegal) just to raise money for bigger boobs.

Elizabeth is not a misunderstood person who secretly loves to teach, she’s simply a self-absorb woman who pursed a teaching career because it’s the easiest thing for her to do while she waits to snatch a rich man to become a pampered wife. It’s an unpleasant character that’s hard to root for but Diaz nails the role as she played it in a delightfully devilish way that despite Elizabeth's meanness you won’t find yourself wanting to strangle her to death. It’s unfortunate that the screenplay was not able to match Diaz’s performance because the storyline failed to have that comedic connection. The movie was basically a showcase of bad behavior but it's witless in general. There were a lot of petty antics that involves toilet humor and sexual jokes that goes for the obvious. There's no effort at all to make it more dynamic.

The ensemble composed of a lot of good TV comedy actors like Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother), Lucy Punch (The Class), Phyllis Smith (The Office), Thomas Lennon (Reno 911), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) and veteran characters actors John Michael Higgins and Molly Shannon were solid and they were able to bring energy to the tepid material they were given. On the other hand, Justin Timberlake could not escape the poorly written Scott who suffers from no solid characterization whatsoever. The movie actually build him up with a peculiar behavior but it never paid off because it as if the writers were confused as well on what to do with the character so they just left it off as it is, one big mess.

Bad Teacher is just like the main character: uninspired, lazy and is just coasting along. The movie wanted to bring outrageous “She didn’t do that!” sequences but the execution was stillborn that instead it just had “Yeah, she did that” moments. Bad Teacher tried to be edgy but it resorted to cheap tricks which mostly didn’t work and in turn made the movie hardly funny at all. 4 / 10

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