"Bad Teacher" Review

Title: Bad Teacher
Director: Jake Kasdas
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Genre(s): Comedy
Rated: R (For sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use)

 If “Bridesmaids” proved that there can be smart, raunchy comedies starring women then “Bad Teacher” proves just the opposite. In fact, “Bad Teacher” is so dumb, so pointless, has such an incompetently written screenplay, that I defy anyone to defend the movie to me. The movie pitch must have been golden: Sell a movie where Cameron Diaz plays a woman who wants to be a teacher so she can embezzle lots of money in order to buy a new pair of tits for her boobs. I mean, the sale must have been the easiest part of this movie. Who WOULDN’T pay to see that?! Heck, this is an easy sell to the general market, who flock to a theater whenever you give them a whiff of bare female body parts in the press release.
And believe it or not, this is not the main problem I have with the film. It’s a raunchy comedy. I expect there to be a little skin thrown in for comedic effect. “Bridesmaids” did this and I gave that movie four stars. Where a movie like “Bridesmaids” succeeds is that it’s funny. It has actresses with great comedic timing. It is smart and intelligent, and knows how to properly balance the gross-out gags with scenes of genuine emotion. “Bad Teacher” knows none of this. Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) may make for a hot teacher, but she’s as likable as a street beggar who isn’t even polite. The reason she’s a teacher is because her fiancĂ©e dumps her after he realizes that she has spent $16,000 dollars in a month, and is only marrying him for his money (he’s one of the few smart characters in this film).
Now she works as an English teacher who is rude, obnoxious, and does nothing but sleep through class while her students watch movies (good ones…shockingly enough). She tries to win the heart of a substitute teacher named Scott (Justin Timberlake). He’s rich, but he’s also a few colors short of a full box of crayons. If he's rich why is he a substitute teacher you ask? Hmm...good question. The gym teacher Russell (Jason Segel) has genuine feelings for her, and is one of the few people worth liking in this movie. Honestly, as I write this review one thing comes to my head: There is no possible way this should have been bad. Seriously, this is the easiest film to make. It had success written all over it. It has a great setting for a smart adult comedy. The problems are numerous though. Cameron Diaz is a beautiful woman, but she has no comedic timing.
Timberlake’s character is a little too dumb even for this movie. Segal is perfectly cast for the part, but the part is not properly cast in this movie. Most of all though Diaz’s character is a horrible, horrible bitch. Comedies like this only succeed if the bad person gets their due. In this case all the bad things happen, but they happen to the wrong people. In this movie bad things mostly happen to humorously named Amy Squirrel (played by the not fictionally named Lucy Punch). Amy is the character who gets royally screwed multiple times in this film. Yet in contrast to Elizabeth, Amy is nice, smart, and caring. That she loses her temper sometimes is actually understandable. It’s no fun watching this character get tortured by the character we aren’t even supposed to like.
By the end of the film the movie changes gears and wants to make Elizabeth nice, which is not only unthinkable, but it’s not funny. It’s not daring. This movie wants to be challenging only until it can’t think of what else to do, and revert back to a standard matinee comedy. Imagine my shock to discover that Jake Kasdan directed this mess. No, he’s not a spectacular director by any means, but he directed two other black comedies: “Orange County” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.” Both those films were much smarter and funnier than this piece of garbage is. I know numerically I have to give this film a star grade, but if I were a movie teacher this film would be given a big fat F. 

Parents, there is some strong language and many sexual references. Recommended for ages 17 and up.