Bad Teacher joins the depressingly long list of movies that are simply hard to get worked up about one way or the other. For a movie that wants to be outrageous, that wouldn’t seem to be the desired response. And considering I heard little laughter and saw zero outraged walkouts at the show I attended, I have a feeling my ennui may not be isolated. What we have here is a weak-tea attempt at shock. Oh, the film pushes all the right buttons to earn its R rating, but so what? There isn’t a single moment in it where you’re apt to think, “Oh, they won’t dare to go there,” because you know full well they aren’t going to. That’s the worst of it: It’s so terribly predictable. The story concerns lazy, drunken, stoned, foul-mouthed Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz), who is only teaching until she can marry her filthy rich boyfriend. Since the plot requires it, he dumps her on the last day of school, so she finds herself forced to go back for another year, while she tries to find the next sucker. The next potential victim seems to be the apparently perpetual substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), who, it turns out, is filthy rich. That he’s also terminally vapid seems to escape her notice. It does not escape the attention of good-naturedly sarcastic gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel), who is stuck on Elizabeth, faults and all. Anyone who doesn’t know how this is going to end up hasn’t been to the movies since the introduction of the talkies. The bulk of the story concerns Elizabeth’s faux-zany efforts to raise money for a boob job. That all this manages to be largely painless is good news for those of us who have to sit through it, but it hardly indicates anyone else should bother.
Official Site: www.areyouabadteacher.com
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, Thomas Lennon, Noah Munck, Molly Shannon, Eric Stonestreet, John Michael Higgins and Phyllis Smith
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