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'Bad Teacher' Review: Bad Movie Wastes Good Cast


The one (and only, I’m afraid) good thing that can be said about Bad Teacher is that it has some wonderfully pungent lines. My hopes were certainly raised when Cameron Diaz’ character stormed into her fiancé’s house yelling “Get yourself hard, ’cause I’m gonna suck your dick like I’m mad at it!” All right!


Unfortunately, the rest of the movie speed-races downhill. The usually appealing stars–Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, and the great Lucy Punch–are sadly miscast. And the ill-shaped script–by two writers whose only previous feature credit is the woeful Year One–constitutes an affront to the gods of plausibility.

Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a hot-tramp teacher at an Illinois middle school. Elizabeth arrives in her classroom in tight red sheath dresses, stiletto heels, and impenetrable black shades to hide her hangover eyes. She keeps bottles of minibar liquor in a desk drawer and smokes pot in the parking lot outside. She’s hostile and insulting to her fellow teachers, and her classes consist of screening DVDs for her puzzled students of old movies related to the subject of education. (We see her starting off with Stand and Deliver.) Her only goal in life is to snag a rich man to support her; so when her wealthy fiancé understandably dumps her, she decides that her sole hope of corralling a well-heeled husband is to purchase “a new pair of tits.”

If it need be said, Cameron Diaz, with her big sweet smile and her effervescent light-comic touch, is the last actress you’d expect to be playing such a grotesque and unlikeable caricature. (Even in our current era of out-of-control teachers unions, a wanton tart like Elizabeth wouldn’t last a day in any conceivable school.) A sleazy sexpot is far beneath her talents, and in any case she lacks the overblown physical equipment to be convincing in the part. As if anyone could.

Read the full review at Reason.


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