Review: Bad Teacher
Well, that’s my spiel, as the Jews say.
What makes for a good comedy?
Good jokes? Chemistry? Commitment? The more a film commits to its premise, the more involved the audience is. Dipping a toe doesn’t work, a film with confidence and a freshness about its jokes is more often than not going to get laughs.
Jake Kasdan’s Bad Teacher doesn’t contain many laughs. It’s another in a long line of comedies in 2011 that lack anything inspired.
Bad Teacher wants to be a female-centred version of Bad Santa (the title effectively confirms this). Cameron Diaz plays the foul-mouthed Elizabeth Halsey, an incompetent teacher with little interest in those around her and tries her hardest to do very little.
When’s she dumped by her sugar daddy she looks for a replacement in new substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (a bland Justin Timberlake). Standing in Diaz’ way is Lucy Punch’s gawky, unbelievably kind teacher Amy Squirrel.
There presumably is a message at the centre of Bad Teacher that appearances only paper over a lack of confidence and self-image problems. However, Bad Teacher wholly forgettable that it’s a lazy, predictable and tired attempt at that message.
Diaz is appropriately mean-spirited but it isn’t an inspired performance, which could be applied to the rest of the cast.
There are a few good moments, but for a comedy a few is just not good enough.