As if to fill the void in summer raunch left by the disappointing Hangover sequel, Bad Teacher, directed by Jake Kasdan, brings us Cameron Diaz as the sleaziest middle-school teacher in the history of education.
There is a certain wicked pleasure in beholding Diaz’s unregenerate misanthrope, whose character is mildly reminiscent of Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa in its twisting of traditional expectations. How, and why, did this woman ever become a teacher? The character, Elizabeth Halsey, edging over the hill but still gorgeous, stalks the corridors of the Illinois school where she scarcely works, wearing five-inch slides and tight skirts, hung over from booze and bonging, dozing while she feeds her students – whose names she can’t be bothered to learn -- a pedagogical diet of school-themed movies (Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me). She is crass, profane and callous to other people who aren’t wealthy, eligible men. Her plans to leave her hated job for marriage are foiled when her opera-obsessed fiancé dumps her after his mother discovers she’s spent tens of thousands of his dollars.
The engagement ended, and
The schemes include accepting bribes from ambitious parents for “supplies” and “special tutoring,” pocketing the proceeds from a seventh-grade car wash – enhanced by her appearance in MTV-model halter and shorts, which drives men and boys mad and sends police cruisers a-crashing. She also sets her sights on nerdy but well-born substitute teacher Scott (Justin Timberlake, a former Diaz paramour, for those who follow such things). Like many things in this movie, Timberlake’s character is a little underdeveloped, but he has a great moment performing a hilariously bad love song he penned with the movie’s writers, Gene Stupinsky and Lee Eisenberg.
In a scene that represents wish fulfillment for many a teacher,
(Originally posted at Cleveland Movie Blog.)