Spike TV's Guys Award
Public education is in for a mauling in “Bad Teacher,” Jake Kasdan’s (son of legendary writer dicrector Lawrence) new comedy about an unscrupulous middle school educator driven by the high price of a boob job, a sugar daddy and a life on Easy Street.
Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey who, when her rich fiancé dumps her, decides she’s going to need bigger boobs to attract Mr. Right. When she learns there’s a large cash reward out for the teacher who can deliver the highest scores on the state test, her students go from zeros to heroes over night. But past winner, nosey Miss Squirrel (Lucy Punch) from across the hall, won’t let go without a full investigation into her rival’s debauched teaching methods.
Being a Bad Teacher...is it really a Bad Thing, is it? - Photo by Sony Pictures
Diaz has headlined numerous comedies, notably “There’s Something About Mary.” There, she played the straight man. Here, she is the engine that drives the comedy and although she’s a star, no one ever accused Cameron Diaz of being funny. She is buoyed, however, by an excellent supporting cast including Justin Timberlake who, with each passing role, proves to be a malleable character actor with a wide and varied range. He is adept at physical humor, employing flawless musical timing, making mediocre dialogue half again as funny. His rendition of “Simpatico,” a love song written by his character, is a show stopper in all the wrong ways. Better still is his dry humping scene with Diaz in a motel room; too innocent to be dirty and too dirty to be innocent. Lucy Punch plays the disturbingly blithe Miss Squirrel with the abandon she has brought to recent roles like the gold digger in Woody Allen’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and the psycho girlfriend in “Dinner For Schmucks.” Punch’s full-on commitment to off-beat characters makes her volatile and unpredictable in scenes that might otherwise fall flat. Her work here is the best thing about “Bad Teacher.”
Lucy Punch & Justin Timberlake
The problem with “Bad Teacher” isn’t that it’s bad, it’s that it’s not bad enough. Should have been ‘worst‘.
** (out of four)