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DVD Review: Bad Teacher

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Bad Teacher stars Cameron Diaz as the world’s worst seventh grade teacher. She drastically changes her teaching style once she learns that the teacher whose students have the highest grades on the state examination will receive a large bonus at the end of the year.

Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) is a gold digging man eater whose main goal in life is to find a rich man to marry. After being dumped by her rich fiancé, she goes back to teach seventh grade. Returning to the school, she meets the very rich substitute teacher, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), and makes every attempt to try and win him over. While chasing the substitute teacher, Russell the gym teacher (Jason Segel) is trying to win Elizabeth over. At the same time, Elizabeth is obsessed with getting a breast augmentation and tries to cheat her way into winning the school’s big bonus at the end of the year.

The plot of the movie goes into several different directions, bouncing back and forth between Elizabeth’s desire to win the money and her obsession with marrying a rich man. The script does not provide as much humor as it promises and Diaz’s character seems to be played up too much. The characters themselves are also not very believable, as Diaz seems to be the direct antithesis of her coworkers.

The portrayal of the other characters plays up an over the top innocence and too much “goody good” than would be realistic. Timberlake’s Delacorte plays a man whose favorite book is Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth’s hall mate Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) acts more like a kindergarten teacher than that of a junior high school teacher, and poor Lynn Davies (Phyllis Smith) is tormented by Elizabeth in much of the film. Even the principal, Wally Snur, is portrayed as a bit of a wimp, as he is obsessed with dolphins. It is also hard to believe that the school system would ever keep a school teacher like Elizabeth around.

Jason Segel is great as the gym teacher, but he wasn’t present throughout the entire movie and I would’ve liked to have seen more of his character. He was funny when he did deliver his lines, and his character was probably the most believable. Although an unrealistic character, Lucy Punch delivers a funny performance after her character seeks vengeance against Diaz’s after a series of events that cause the two to despise each other. Although given a hard character to make likeable, Cameron Diaz’s performance ended up being too much to handle by the end of the movie.

I did not particularly care for the film and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is expecting a great comedy. There were a few funny parts scattered sparsely throughout, but there was also a lot of vulgar language that could have been omitted, for it didn’t really add to the comedic appeal. Directed by Jake Kasdan, who also directed Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, seemed to rely too much on the possible star power of the film and didn’t give the script the attention it needed.

Bad Teacher was released onto Blu-Ray and DVD on October 18, 2011 and is rated R. The Blu-Ray and DVD contain special features such as video commentary with the actors, extended scenes, and the unrated version.

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About Debbie Davis

  • Alexandria Jackson

    I agree. I’m tired of them cranking out raunchy movies with women being the gross ones (Bridesmaids). It just doesn’t work when the story stays so superficial.

  • Steve

    I was a little surprised how crude and over the top some of the teachers actions were and the movie in general. It was funny but I felt a little dirty afterward and it definitely earned the R rating.

  • I agree with you. I also think that if you do a movie like this, you should also have a lot of kids’ jokes. Kids are funny and typically the dynamic between the kids and the teacher would make for a funny movie. For example, the scene in the gym when she was hitting the students with the ball for wrong answers was a great scene. Her relationships with two of the students, the smartypants girl and the boy who has the crush on another student, were the best written parts of the movie. And more Jason Segel in the movie would have also made it better.