Bad Teacher review

            The concept for Bad Teacher feels like it came out of a box, created as a duplication of the success that Bad Santa saw some years back. Both are films about foul-mouthed and selfish individuals with jobs that require direct contact with our youths. But while the criminal Santa Claus somehow managed to be sympathetic and even heartwarming by the end, Bad Teacher forces the happy ending with a minimal amount of sentimentality and believability. In the end, the characters are just not engaging enough to make any of the content in Bad Teacher matter in the least. It is simply one raunchy scene after another, and many of them even lack creativity in their crudeness.

            Cameron Diaz stars as the distasteful protagonist, Elizabeth Halsey. Elizabeth has no interest in work of any kind, but somehow she became a school teacher while searching for a rich husband to pay for a luxurious lifestyle. This dream has nearly come true for Elizabeth when her fiancé catches a clue and drops her, forcing the superficial gold-digger to return to her job as a middle school teacher. Every day a movie is shown and every day she drinks and uses drugs to pass the time, never actually teaching the kids anything until it has some kind of financial benefit.

            Elizabeth has two goals in her job, and neither have anything to do with the children. She is desperate to be able to afford breast implants, and will even resort to stealing from the children and cheating to get that money. At the same time she sets her sights on a new victim when it turns out that a new substitute (Justin Timberlake) is wealthy.

Why a wealthy and handsome young man would be substitute teaching is never explained, but this character is a goofy caricature rather than a human being anyway. The way Timberlake plays it feels more like one of the cool kids pretending to be a dork than an actual committed performance. It feels as though Timberlake is secretly winking at the audience with his over-the-top performance, purposefully “acting” so that nobody will accidentally think he is actually that dorky.  The only mildly enjoyable character in Bad Teacher is Jason Segal, who plays an equally blunt and crude gym teacher. His personality matches Elizabeth’s perfectly, but he is a gym teacher and lacks the financial support she wants from a husband.

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