Film Review – ‘Bad Teacher’

by Anna Denejkina

This was my first film review, and to date, only film review. 

Movie Review: Bad Teacher

Written for Future Entertainment [on line]

Originally published on July 20, 2011

“She just doesn’t give an F” is the perfect byline to Bad Teacher and its leading “lady” Elizabeth Halsey, played superbly by Cameron Diaz, who may be the hottest teacher there has ever been. The drinking, cigarette and marijuana smoking Elizabeth has the personality of a kick-arse rock star, rather than that of a teacher, a role that Diaz manages to pull off greatly alongside a stellar and hilarious cast of Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, Jason Segel and Phyllis Smith.

Definitely not a children’s comedy, perhaps unlike to what the title may suggest, Bad Teacher is a push in the right direction from screenwriters Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, and director Jake Kasdan [Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story], who never invites the audience to pity Diaz’s character, instead, making us shriek at her conniving, scheming and misleading plots in order to gain more of what she loves best – that being the materialistic, the shallow, and in particular a breast augmentation, which is the main ideal that surrounds her in the quest to raise money.

Diaz’s physical transformation, at times from scene-to-scene is amusing and cringe-worthy; the sexy, Louboutin-wearing teacher, the hung-over educator with not a penny to spend; the junky, street crawler looking for a cigarette lighter and ultimately sharing a Christmas meal with a student’s family, definitely invokes a nauseating part to her character.

Additionally, Bad Teacher plays host to the most hilarious “sex” scene that I’ve ever laid my eyes upon between Diaz and Timberlake, underlining that there is definitely a good amount of laugh-out-loud moments in this comedy. Timberlake, who plays the rich substitute teacher Scott Delacorte, and Diaz’s gold-digging interest is a dumb character at best, and at worst, well, you’ll have to see the film. Jason Segel, who plays the unfit gym teacher, Russell Gettis, is smitten by Diaz, but do not assume that this is a gross, cliché love story, as Segel and Diaz stray from romanticism, bonding over sarcasm, cynicism, alcohol and pot instead.

Of course, a music cameo summoning the 1995 classic, Dangerous Minds, is fittingly present, with the soundtrack, the one-and-only “Gangsta’s Paradise” playing over footage of the train-wreck teacher that is Diaz.

Thankfully, this film is based on the notion that every character and the entire plot is exceptionally fictional, letting us immerse ourselves in the hilarity of a terribly ill-fitting school teacher, the cringe-worthy plot-line and most of the unconventional characters around her.