Me being from the good old United Kingdom, I had a terrific start to the cinematic year. Academy Award nominated epics such as True Grit, The King’s Speech, The Fighter and 127 Hours, as well as some other truly fantastic films, like Blue Valentine and Animal Kingdom graced the silver screen. Up until now, everything was going so well. There had not been a true stinker in sight. That is, until Bad Teacher was released. What promised to be a fun, satirical romp is, in reality, a piss poor comedy that over relays on clichés and curse words to gain its laughs. Many also expected Cameron Diaz to go back to vintage comedic form, like she showed perfectly in There’s Something About Mary. I can also report that is certainly not the case. Whilst better here than in last summer’s pointless Knight And Day, she is not a revelation. 2010’s classic The Social Network was not only a near perfect film, it also demonstrated to us, the movie connoisseur, that Justin Timberlake can, indeed, act! Bad Teacher, on the other hand, will make you lose any faith in him that The Social Network may have given you. He is utterly rotten here. Totally unlikeable and unfunny.
The film centres on teacher Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz), who is thrown back into teaching following a split from her husband. She returns to school, making no effort to teach the students, instead pursuing her goal of dating new sub teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake). However, she has competition. High achieving teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) is also in pursuit. All the while, Halsey is saving up for a new ‘rack’. Once she discovers that there is a cash bonus involved for whichever teacher’s class gets the highest results in the state test, she gains a newly renovated interest in teaching her pupils.
The main fault of the film is that it simply does not work, on any level. Not as a fun, silly, throwaway comedy; not as a romantic comedy. Hell, it does not even work as being a piece of light entertainment. The performances also are simply annoying. Lucy Punch’s Amy Squirrel may be funny to a PG-13 audience, but when it comes to R rated comedy, please, give me a break. After mulling over all of the performances again, it is probably Phyllis Smith as fellow teacher, Lynn Davies who does the best job. It really shows the quality of a film when a, in all honestly, pretty rubbish performance and character, is probably the best the film has to offer.
Really, the film is a shambles. The performances, the comedy, the plot, the ending, everything. I honestly cannot think of what the director (whom I nearly forgot to mention; Jake Kasdan, the man responsible for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) could have done to make this a better film. Let’s just hope that his next effort is significantly better. Oh, and I must not forget. Bad Teacher also contains, possibly the worst sex scene ever filmed on celluloid. Honestly, it’s that bad.
Overall, I cannot possibly recommend the film. You will feel like you have not only wasted your time, but your hard earned money as well. According to the poster, she (as in Diaz) ‘doesn’t give an F’. Well I, on the other hand, would quite happily reward this film with one.
Bad Teacher – 3/10