Bad Teacher Movie Review: Grade School Grossout Gets Extra Credit
Likely drumming up a critical hung jury somewhere between the nearly entire population hating their junior high school days, to public school teachers currently doing battle nationwide to cling to their livelihoods and save face, Bad Teacher earns passing grades for its rabidly satirical negative spin on the profession. And Cameron Diaz, the more accurately superbad teacher in question, gets a devilish front and center remedial makeover from her last turn as limp excess baggage to the main course in The Green Hornet.
Bad Teacher sets back the women's movement at least a few centuries, but in this particular case who cares. Because if we're talking self-criticism of the species, some women are, let's face it, what can only be termed female chauvinists. And Diaz reinforces every single negative female stereotype with relish as Elizabeth Halsey, a sexed up slacker Chicago middle school teacher. Liz has been biding her time at what she views as a repugnant job with awful pay, until she can somehow corner an affluent mate.
And she's actually done so already, and just parted ways with her unbearable teaching gig. That is, until Liz's fiancÚ gets wind of her fanatical shopaholic tendencies - after she maxes out all his credit cards - and dumps her. So reluctantly requesting her old job back, Liz is more despondent than ever. And mulling a new game plan to trap any potential rich nitwit around, she comes to the conclusion that her rotten luck has nothing to do with bad behavior, but rather a lack of big boobs.
And since any contour alterations come with a hefty price tag, Liz proceeds to obsessively hatch a variety of creative undercover indictable schemes at school to raise the personal enhancement funds. But there's still plenty of down time left for some shady extra-curricular activities, because this tacky teacher is distracting her students with back to back movies as the 'new books.' While doing the provocative predator thing with the nerdy new substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake) who also happens to be heir to a fortune; hitting the smuggled booze or drugs stashed away in her desk; and warding off an infatuated low rent lecherous loser on the premises, goofy gym teacher Russell (Jason Segel).
Which is not to say that Bad Teacher mastermind Jake Kasdan hasn't packed this matriculated grossout with plenty of cringe-inducing premeditated bad taste, laced with racist rants. But this vivacious lunatic ensemble cast is more than up to the task. And counting Lucy Punch as Cameron's rival perfectionist pedagogue so hungry for role reversal tween approval that she hands out apples in class for all. Along with frumpy sidekick Phyllis Smith, turned on to her first illegal high and fleeing with the munchies, in search of any available hot dog in the vicinity.
Bad Teacher: A good time grade school grossout earning inverted extra credit for its failing marks as the new nasty fun in a movie.
Prairie Miller is a NY multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio, and on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express. Read more reviews by Prairie Miller. Contact her through NewsBlaze.
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