Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher was a movie set up for me to hate.  I am not a Cameron Diaz fan, and not a fan of Justin Timberlake either.  I am a fan of Jason Segel but he doesn’t play as much of a role in the film as the trailers for its theatrical release would have had you believe.  With all this being said, I actually enjoyed this movie a lot.  It is not because the script was incredibly well written or because the cinematography was absolutely breathtaking.  No, the winning formula for this film was much more simple.  The reason that this movie worked for me is because the film asks the viewer to dislike Diaz’s Elizabeth Halsey and Timberlake’s Scott Delacorte.  That’s something I found incredibly easy.

The film firmly rests on Diaz’s shoulders and she owns it.  In the past I think Diaz has been miscast in roles that ask her to portray the cute, sweet, and endearing type when in fact she really hasn’t fit that role since “There’s Something About Mary” some thirteen years ago.  In this movie, Diaz’s Halsey is mean, self-centered, and trashy – and whether it is perception or reality, these are qualities that really suit her.  Fair or not, I could not help but feel like I was not watching Cameron Diaz act, but instead I was watching Cameron Diaz play herself.  The fact that her character is on a quest to raise money for breast implants becomes inconsequential.  The show is her degrading, mean spirited, selfish approach to the world around her.

Timberlake takes his usual overly camp approach to portraying a character and in this instance it adds significant value.  He was not as good in this movie as he was in “Friends with Benefits” but he holds his own with Diaz.  He is every bit as unlikable as her if not more and the love triangle between the two and Lucy Punch’s Amy Squirrel is awkwardly entertaining.  Jason Segel as a simple everyman with simpe values does not add much value to this project, because he is the moral compass in a movie that works because it spits in the face of socially accepted behavior. 

This is not a great movie but it is a very good movie rental.  It is irreverent, crass, and a bit of a guilty pleasure.  If you need a night of mindless laughter this is definitely the film for you.  With the exception of  “There’s Something About Mary” there is not a Cameron Diaz movie that I enjoyed more.  See it alone or see it with friends; either way you’ll be entertained.

Standout Performance: Cameron Diaz delivers her second good performance in a thirteen year span.


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