Bad Teacher

(2011)

Genres: Comedy

Review: Bad Teacher

Transcript for Review: Bad Teacher

IGNAITY VISHNEVETSKY:
Alright, our next film is already in theaters, but wasn’t screened in time for us to review it on last week’s show. In BAD TEACHER, Cameron Diaz plays a middle school teacher in the Chicago suburbs whose main goal in life is to marry into money so that she never has to teach again. She’s convinced that her ticket out is to seduce a watch-company heir moonlighting as a substitute teacher at her school. He’s a perpetually chipper doofus played by Justin Timberlake.
 
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If you’re waiting for me to tell you about Diaz’s redeeming qualities—well, she doesn’t have any. Over the course of the movie, she blackmails a state official, embezzles school funds, repeatedly shows up to work hung-over and uses her charms to upstage her rivals.
 
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It’s clear from the get-go that Diaz would be happier with a lowly gym teacher—played by Jason Segel—than with Timberlake. But that isn’t because Segel is some perfect soul mate who’ll melt her icy heart. It’s because he’s exactly as cynical, lazy and petty as she is. 
 
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BAD TEACHER neither attempts to redeem Diaz’s character, nor does it try to shoehorn in any tacky sentimentality. It’s a mean-spirited movie about an opportunist trying to survive in a world ruled by idiots—and it’s the better for it. Some of the jokes fell flat for me, but, still, you gotta admire a movie that has every opportunity to turn mawkish but stays pitch-black instead. I give it a thumbs up.

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Yeah, thumbs up from me as well. This is very much a one joke movie like in, what I expected it to be but they’re enough variations and shadings and versions of that one joke that I laughed pretty much the whole way through. It goes soft on her a little bit at the end. She doesn’t stay quite as mean the whole way through but again she’s not doing a complete 180 which I was happy to see. It could be very easy to get really maudlin with her and “have her learn something.”

IGNATIY:
Yeah, and there’s a moment where they’re, I think they’re in Springfield, they’re on a field trip to Springfield, and there’s this kid who’s constantly getting made fun of throughout the movie and she kind of has this sit down with him, and you feel like it’s the moment where it’s going to turn really sentimental.

CHRISTY:
Oh god, don’t do it. Right, yeah.

IGNATIY:
But it doesn’t. But actually Diaz does something, this thing with her face, where for a second she, it’s like, she realizes just how vapid her character is, but then she just keeps going, and to me that’s the funniest moment in the movie.

CHRISTY:
Yeah, I like Lucy Punch a lot as the really perfect, perky teacher across the hall who’s very passive aggressive. She could have been a very one-dimensional character, but there’s enough going on with her that she makes it a little weird, and a little dark. Um, everyone’s good in it. Jason Segel as the voice of reason is hilarious in it. I always liked Justin Timberlake, I mean, once again he is kind of playing with his popstar image, but it gets dark and kind of raunchy with him.

IGNATIY:
Yeah, and there’s a very good, you know, supporting cast. Uh, all the people that play the teachers the various school officials.

CHRISTY:
John Michael Higgins and Thomas Lennon as a naughty government official. Yes.

IGNATIY:
Yeah