Written by / 6/26/2011 / No comments / , ,

BAD TEACHER

title: BAD TEACHER
year: 2011
cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segal, Lucy Punch, Justin Timberlake
rating: *

While most “dark comedies” center on goofy characters within a gritty, unpredictable setting, this is the opposite. Cameron Diaz is a crude, brutally honest teacher in a squeaky clean school full of banal kids, geeky teachers, and a geeky principle right out of a bizarro world Norman Rockwell painting. This is the first of many problems as the campus and characters, with the exception of the usually dependable Jason Segal as a sarcastic P.E. teacher, are too “good” to be realistic: making Diaz’s badness seem forced, bitter and unlikable (who wouldn't hate this school?). Lucy Punch, as the arch enemy teacher, so perfect she’s on the verge of a mental breakdown, and Justin Timberlake, an ueber sensitive sub, are too cartoonish to be worthy targets of antihero Diaz, too pissed off at everything, and everyone, to be funny: we never feel her frustration, an essential element in any comedy film. The plot has Diaz wanting to marry rich, and trust-fund Timberlake fits the bill. But he's so overboard as a dweeb, the means to an end seems like a waste of time… which is most of the film: Diaz figuring out how to illegally earn enough money for a boob job (while we know who she'll fall for in the end). And the jokes, mostly aimed at everyone not as open and crude as Diaz, just aren’t funny. But she tries her best – it’s the writing and direction, with pockets of embarrassingly awkward moments for the characters and the audience, that earns this one a deserving F minus.
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