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Friday, July 15, 2011

Bad Teacher


Bad teacher, worse car-washer.

There’s a special place in Hell reserved for people like Elisabeth Halsey. She’s a drunk, drug-abusing, materialistic gold-digger, and makes no bones about it. If you took one look at the woman, you’d think trophy wife, and move on. As well you should. What you wouldn’t think, however, is “teacher”. Role model, etc. Of course, that’s all part of the joke of the movie. Get it? Of course you do - it’s spelled out to the point where it isn’t funny anymore. Bad Teacher takes the idea that made Bad Santa so funny, and pile drives it into slapstick oblivion. Where in Bad Santa, the Santa was a criminal posing as a Santa. In Bad Teacher, this woman is actually a teacher, posing as a good person. The joke is lost in the translation.

I don’t really get it anymore.

More after the cut--

Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is wisely dumped by her fiancé when he realizes she’s using him as a meal ticket. She figures that with a pair of bigger breasts, she can win his heart. Or at least his wallet. Sure, we’ll go with that. Every movie needs a plot, no matter how thin. So, she decides to keep on teaching her little heart out in order to get a bonus. Does she buck up and learn to discipline herself, get the students to get good grades, and come out on top a better person? No, she instead lies, cheats, steals, and lies some more in order to get her way, and then comes out on top the exact same person, just a bit less materialistic. Spoiler? Not if you’ve ever watched a movie before… I could go into deeper detail about the plot and give you a good summary of what you’re going to see; like, she makes some friends (more like followers) with some of the other teachers. The gym teacher (Jason Segal) has a crush on her. She has a crush on the new sexy substitute (Justin Timberlake), and the least popular, but best teacher (Lucy Punch) has a vendetta against her. I could tell you all that, but the movie treats that with about as much importance as I just did.

It’s depressing when a movie requires its actors to just be a face. Like, the producers simply cast people based on how they should look as the character, not what they would bring to it. Jason Segal could look like a gym teacher, so… get him. Cameron Diaz has long legs, and there’s a car wash scene. Lucy Punch looks a bit obnoxious, and the enemy has to be someone who appears insane and a bit obnoxious. Justin Timberlake is popular, and girls like him. Make sense? Even the kids are cast based on physical features. The funniest bits of the film involve the characters who are barely in it. Jason Segal’s gym teacher doesn’t have too big of a part, but his argument with a student about Lebron vs. Jordan is amusing, and the bad teacher’s roommate is the bright spot of the film, having probably a total of ten minutes in a film that runs about 90 minutes too long.

It’s hard to even write about a film like this without repeating myself. And again, I could go into detail about the technical aspects of the film; the camera work, the music, the lackluster editing, and how little the production team seemed to care about what was going on (they probably weren’t even told). I could stretch out the idea of the film as being a satire on how audiences will go see anything, but the film pretty much flopped, so I can’t even do that. All I’m left with is a bad taste in my mouth, a longing for the Cameron Diaz of the 90’s, confusion about Justin Timberlake and why such a good actor agreed to do such a bad film, and even more confusion as to why anyone thought this film would profit at all? Did producers think that people would just go see it? Someone should tell them that that’s not how it seems to be working anymore.