Thursday, 13 October 2011

Today's Review: Bad Teacher

I was quite looking forward to this movie. It seemed like a lot of fun, kind of like something that hasn't really been done before. Jason Segel's in it too, so that's awesome, and I don't care what anyone says, Justin Timberlake is pretty good too.

Bad Teacher follows the exploits of Elisabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz), a woman engaged to a wealthy person, and about to quite her job as a teacher. Trouble is her partner dumps her, so once again Halsey is forced to go back to school and work on finding another rich man, who in fact emerges in the form of substitute teacher Scott (Timberlake). But in order to win him over she's convinced she needs some new boobs because his ex also had big boobs. Great logic there. So it's up to her to use all her bad teaching skills to swindle as much money as she can for the op, while avoiding the advances of the gym teacher (Segel), and the snooping goody two shoes teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch).

That's about as much story as I could extract from the movie. There's definitely a plot line, and a clear ending that wraps things up, but what's inbetween is just so awkwardly put together. It's as if the writers wrote out a bunch of scenes that sounded funny, then though "Shit, we have to link these all together somehow". The progression of Halsey and Scott's relationship is at one point so fast that I thought I'd accidentally skipped a scene. I suppose having the action jump around from place to place keeps it a bit fresher, but it just ends up being so confusing, and characters get totally left behind and underdeveloped when there was actually some potential for them. They just seem to pop up whenever a joke needs to be bounced off them, and then they get shoved to one side so Cameron Diaz can wear a different outfit and talk about her boobs some more.

Still, there are some funny moments in the movie. Nothing's really held back along the way, so expect plenty of swearing and drugs. Yes, Halsey really is a bad teacher, she starts out just not giving a crap, and this provides some good comedic moments. But her attitude seems to fluctuate so much throughout the movie that it's hard to tell when she's being genuine or manipulative. The supporting actors definitely do well though, especially Lucy Punch as the hyperactive number one teacher.

Bad Teacher is an entertaining enough movie. Once you get over all the chopping and changing of set pieces and scenes there is definitely some funny stuff in here. But what lets it down is the sense of detachment between scenes, and the lack of character development that results. If you don't think about it too much though, Bad Teacher is pretty good.

My rating: 3/5

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