Bad Teacher (2011)

Comedy
Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch
A lazy, incompetent middle school teacher who hates her job and her students is forced to return to her job to make enough money for a boob job after her rich fiancé dumps her.
In spite of a promising concept and a charmingly brazen performance from Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher is never as funny as it should be.
  • Sony Pictures Company:
  • TV-MA Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 24 Jun 2011 Released:
  • 18 Oct 2011 DVD Release:
  • $100.3M Box office:

Trailer:

Funnier than the reviews7/10
Bad Teacher is funny in ways it shouldn't be. Cameron Diaz owns the role of Elizabeth as the foul-mouthed, pot smoking, trashy blonde teacher with a twisted outlook on life. Obscenities and bizarre sexual innuendo roll off her tongue perfectly. Justin Timberlake is hilarious and awkward as Scott. His character is complex and....well he's just awkward....there's no other way to describe it. Lucy Punch is the perfect counterpart to both Diaz and Timberlake's characters as Amy Squirrel. Her over-the-top performance is one you will remember. Jason Segel steals every scene he's in as Russell the equally foul mouthed and dirty gym teacher. Phyllis Smith is an adorable and strange addition to the movie as the confused Lynn Davis, bringing her own brand of corkiness to the plot. All in all, the casting of Bad Teacher is flawless and is really where the movie shines. The punchlines are delivered with punch and the characters are decently developed and complex in their own ways.

There are some setbacks to Bad Teacher which stop it from being a great comedy. The plot devices used to move the story along are unconvincing and overplayed. Character transformations are equally unconvincing, uninspired, and rushed. Some scenes feel forced for the sake of cheap laughs or shock value. None of it though is shocking enough for this to be an effective method of comedy. Sometimes the characters feel a bit too weird even for the universe of strange the movie sets early on. Jason Segel's Russell is the most interesting character in the movie and yet for some reason is greatly underused. He pops up in pointless scenes simply to interject a laugh and then disappears for long stretches of time.

Bad Teacher is a funny movie. The critics have not been so generous with their reviews, but who listens to them anymore anyways? If you are into dark comedies or a raunchy brand of humor, you will find yourself laughing with this one. While the plot devices are forced and some of the humor could have been better with a more subtle approach, overall this is a decent flick to chill out on the couch and laugh with. 7/10
Let's hope they paid the actors more than the writers.....7/10
Bad Teacher is a great concept that resulted in a style of humor like most of the Adult Swim cartoons you see today: When the jokes hit they hit well, but when they miss, they miss quite badly. The cast was delightful, but could only go so far with the material. As a matter of fact, it was the cast that saved the movie from being a total disaster by providing their comedic chops, their charm, and their good comic timing that you don't see enough of nowadays. Despite all that however, Bad teacher is a shiny apple with a few rotten parts.

Elizabeth Hasley (Cameron Diaz) is a foul-mouthed, bitter, and quite nasty teacher that is keeping the job only to pay the bills after her rich fiancee dumps her. Facing debt, aging, and loneliness, Elizabeth starts setting her sights on a boob job and on a new (rich) teacher (Justin Timberlake), whom has also captured the attention of a manipulative rival (Lucy Punch). The script was helmed by two veteran writers of The Office (Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg) as they use their non-television ratings boundaries to mix plenty of vulgar and raunchy humor with even some tidbits of cruel humor. Unfortunately, their lack of boundaries led to a mediocre script.

This film's biggest falters come in the form of the script. Despite the promise in the premise and the cast involved, the script was convoluted, and didn't have much structure until the second half. As a matter of fact, the film switches up the pace very unexpectedly when the next act approaches. Pretty much almost all the crude and vulgar humor failed to draw laughs, with one notable exception involving one of the odder "sex" scenes in recent memory. The movie was a great idea not exactly explored upon, and was full of smaller ideas that were not utilized. Many good smaller characters did not get enough time in the script; most notably the students, the gym teacher (Jason Segal) and the main character's roommate (Erik Stonestreet).

Despite the writing being a fickle mess, the cast was superb, from the small roles to the big ones. Cameron Diaz I can honestly say is one of the most underrated talents in Hollywood, because she rarely ever delivers a mediocre or weak performance. She has this aura, this energy that can save the worst of films (See: What Happens in Vegas) and it is no different here. Despite her smoking/drinking/vulgar/manipulative/cynical/cruel/superficial ways, we still secretly root for her to succeed in reaching her goal. Very few actresses can pull off this type of charm.

Lucy Punch, despite having a bit of questionable material, delivers as Diaz's rival. Jason Segal could have helped the movie a lot more if he was in it more often, as he delivered the laughs every time he was on-screen with his wit, sarcasm, and I-don't-care attitude. Television staples Phyllis Smith and Erik Stonestreet were hilarious in the far-too-few moments they were on-screen. The movie does indeed have its laughs, but the potential was so much greater considering all the talented actors involved.

Jake Kasdan as a director doesn't have much of a resume, but he does have the comedic chops and timing, and he proved this with the underrated Walk Hard. With Bad Teacher, he did not have as much good material to work with but could have still helped the movie if he had tightened the first third of the movie better. There was a lot more unnecessary fluff in the first half of the movie compared to the second half. Smaller plot lines were never resolved, certain jokes literally fell off without a punchline, and certain situations were brought up but never explored. Many concepts were also never explored: especially that of how shallow and shady we all become towards each other in the workforce.

Bottom Line: Bad Teacher was a great idea, poorly executed, but relentlessly saved by the energetic cast. This movie could have mixed the dark charm of Bad Santa with the subtle workforce ridiculousness humor of Office Space to become something very, very special. But neither style of humor was dwelled upon deep enough. The first half had its laughs, but was far too convoluted and was salvaged mainly because of the hilarity of Cameron Diaz. The movie definitely picks up later, but by then its too late, the potential was wasted. Either way, you will certainly laugh, you will remain entertained, but will also be bothered by what it could have been.
Execrable1/10
What was the point of this movie? Cameron Diaz has been in some great stuff. Why would she humiliate herself with this pathetic script? Perhaps she liked the idea of showing off her body for an hour and a half. Because she is exceptionally hammy here in that respect.

Every single character in this movie is unlikeable, with perhaps the exception of the school superintendent, who occupies about three minutes of screen time. Diaz plays an obnoxious character who uses and abuses others, children foremost among them. Jason Timberlake starts out being a refreshing contrast to Diaz, but after awhile he's as unpleasant as all the rest.

The plot is exceptionally poorly constructed. We're supposed to care about how a psychopath drums up the $9,000 necessary for breast implants? Admittedly, I'm older than the target audience of this film. I admit I felt a bit of justice when the acne-faced teacher (unfunnily named Squirrel) caught Diaz at her game. But the plot disappoints again when Diaz out-cons everyone anew. The unlikely ending seems as if it were slapped on because the writer couldn't think of any other way to release the audience from its misery.

This movie is pure detritus and I'm really sorry my family wasted $38.50 (including food) to see it.
Bad Teacher ?? Maybe. Bad Film? Absolutely1/10
I know others will disagree with me, but this has got to be in the running for the pick for the Razzies this year. What a pathetic piece of crap. The storyline was boring and the jokes either over-the-top, or, worst, not even close to funny. It never fails to amaze me when really bad ideas not only get to be screenplays, but they actually wind up getting produced. And...Timberlake's character...what was he thinking when he took this role??? Yeah, Diaz is still a hot body and all, but even that couldn't save something so downright dumb. I won't bother with any spoilers; it's not worth the effort. Save your money. This one will simply insult your intelligence. I would give it a minus one if I could.
This is where we are as a culture1/10
How many millions of dollars went into this which could have been used better in some other venture? Sour premise of a dope-smoking, opportunistic junior high school teacher who skates through her job, looking for a way to fund her breast augmentation job so she can land a rich boyfriend. Ends up committing several felonies & getting a stuffy but honest co-worker blamed for everything (including drug use on school grounds) while she wins the day. The redemption is her hooking up with an angry gym teacher when he proves the affluent guy she's sharking for is a shallow imbecile.

Now, I'm not the sort of person who demands a moral message in every piece of cinema, but really? Who is the target audience here? To whom are the filmmakers attempting to appeal? This is just vile.