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movie review: Bad Teacher

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
June 24, 2011 4:25 AM
12 Comments
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I’ve always liked Cameron Diaz, who brings a spark to every part she plays, but she’s only as good as her material, and Bad Teacher is bad news for her and her fans. I was wary going in, as I tend to be whenever a Hollywood movie announces through its advertising how “outrageous” it’s going to be. The only outrageous thing about Bad Teacher is that director Jake Kasdan and two writers who earned an Emmy nomination for television’s The Office (Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg) could turn out such an obvious, heavy-handed, unfunny comedy.

To cite an example, I have to spoil one of its jokes—but believe me, it’s no loss. In the movie’s most—

—excerpted scene, Diaz takes over the school’s fund-raising car wash and shows up in short-shorts, looking terrifically sexy. All the fathers on hand stare in wonder and amazement, and so do the local cops. Then we see one of the male students, equally

transfixed; the camera pans down to reveal that he has an erection.

That’s the joke. There’s no sight gag, or surprising reveal. It’s about as obvious—and lazy—as you can get, and the same can be said for the rest of the picture. From the first scene to the last, we’re supposed to find it uproariously funny that all the teachers at the school are clueless square-heads, including the principal. Ha.

All of these characters are played broadly, forcing people like Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins, Thomas Lennon, and even Justin Timberlake to mug as if this were a bad high-school play. Only Diaz and Jason Segel, as a gym teacher, get to be sly.

I realize that wit is no longer valued in mainstream Hollywood comedies, but this film is witless, in every sense of that word, and I find that extremely discouraging.


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12 Comments

  • Chad braund | December 3, 2011 3:33 AMReply

    http://comedy-screenplay-that-might-be-funnier-than-the-hangover.com/

  • Kevin S. | July 20, 2011 6:03 AMReply

    Walked out of this movie after 40 mins. The worst part is that I'll never get back my lost 40 minutes. Didn't laugh-or smile-once. NOT ONCE!

    Totally unfunny and Diaz is the most over-rated actress in cinema.

  • The Dude | July 19, 2011 11:11 AMReply

    CEE GEE said it best “In what world is Cameron Diaz sexy?” Someone please freakin’ tell me!? I personally think she is as horrid looking as Sarah Jessica Parker (the lady with 2 first names)… They both have a face of an ugly dog!

  • Victorious Gleam | July 15, 2011 4:27 AMReply

    All of these piss ants are killing me with their meaness. You mean minded people. What did you expect from the film? With all that is going on in the world, you would think that a little humor somewhere under the rainbow would help lossen you tight wads. I am no fan of hers and no one else in this film. But what captured me was the fact that "miss do-gooder teacher squirrel" - i have met her before in several schools. Always kissing ass to everyone and that is what made me cheer for the bad teacher. Believe I do not want a bad teacher for my child but I definitely do not want a kiss-ass either. So, I really enjoyed the movie for what it was worth. Funny! Now, if i want some serious comedy let me see i guess i will watch an old episode of Two and Half Men (NOT FUNNY TOO ME AT ALL!!!)

  • G Young | July 13, 2011 3:01 AMReply

    " Bad Teacher:" Trash! Trash! Trash!!!
    Probaly the worst film I have ever walked out of. No wonder the world is in such horrible condition!
    The title itself will influence and draw younger people.
    Shame! shame! shame!!!
    Why do people with such influence stupe so low?

  • KXB | July 6, 2011 4:45 AMReply

    Bad Teacher was flat-out hilarious (that is, if you're not a brie cheese-eating prude), esp. the great Thomas Lennon, Lucy Punch, Phyllis Smith, as well as MS. Diaz; keep in mind this prudish troll gave also gave low 2-star reviews to all-time funny films like Animal House, Anchorman, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and There's Something About Mary, but gave dreck like New York Minute, Patch Adams, and The first Sex and the City (which was ALMOST as repulsive as the second!) higher-starred (2 1/2- 3) reviews! Also, this stump just doesn't GET Christopher Nolan, giving low reviews to Memento(!!!) and The Dark Knight(!!!!), but of course giving Crash (2005) 3 1/2 stars, even though it's been proven to be overwrought dreck (HELLO, it has Brendan Fraser in it!) and the WORST Best Picture winner since the "original" Around the World in 80 Days!

  • Jeff | June 26, 2011 4:24 AMReply

    I couldn't have written this review better myself and I didn't even need to see the movie. I could tell simply by the previews.

  • mike schlesinger | June 25, 2011 9:42 AMReply

    The problem isn't just that these "jokeless comedies" (as a New York Times writer dubbed them) are dreadful, but that they seem to have driven every other kind of comedy completely off the studios' schedules. This is why MIDNIGHT IN PARIS has been such a surprise hit: people whose combined IQ and age total 150 or more are starved for a grown-up comedy with actors they recognize and are delighted that one managed to sneak into the marketplace.

  • Jim Reinecke | June 25, 2011 6:25 AMReply

    Yes, George, I'm fully aware of the sad fact that Messrs. Sturges and Wilder are no longer with us, as well as Mr. Capra and the somewhat overrated Mr. Cukor. Apparently my sarcastic shot at the landfill-worthy material that passes for comedy today, as well as the talentless cretins who make this garbage, zipped over your head. Congratulations, however, on being able to spell the names of these four gentelemen correctly.

  • George P. | June 25, 2011 1:23 AMReply

    Sturges and Wilder are dead, as are Frank Capra and George Cukor.

  • Jim Reinecke | June 24, 2011 5:45 AMReply

    Why is it that I'm not the least bit surprised that this film is junk? Oh, where are Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder when we REALLY need them?

  • Cee Gee | June 24, 2011 3:31 AMReply

    In what world is Cameron Diaz "sexy"?

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