"Bad Teacher" is a no-nonsense and filthy comedy that benefits from a low curve.
How do you solve a problem like "Bad Teacher"? Despite its relatable title and A-list cast, "Bad Teacher" is certainly no family flick. With an 'R' is for Raunchy' rating, it's the kind of movie (think full-frontal nudity, sex, drugs and profanity) that your kids would be sent the principal's office for discussing.
Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth, a gold-digging middle school teacher who thinks she's got her Mrs. degree and quits her teaching job after becoming engaged to a wealthy man outside of Chicago. When her fiance dumps her at his mother's suggestion of her not so heartfelt intentions, Elizabeth is forced to return to her old job as a seventh-grade teacher.
Suffice it to say the tenure board wasn't created with this kind of teacher in mind. Diaz really begins to flex her comedic muscles when the movie's tag line (she doesn't give an F) is realized. Elizabeth, depressed with her undesirable circumstances, openly drinks, smokes and swears in front of her students, becoming the best worst on screen teacher of all time. Diaz's deadpan delivery coupled with the character's inherent lack of morality, makes for a surprising protagonist. "Will the teacher ever learn to be responsible and love her students?" the audience wonders.
In real life Cameron Diaz was a bad student. "I don't recall how I graduated out of high school, but I'm sure it had to do with cheating. I did not like school." Diaz told abcnews.com. Diaz's lack of enthusiasm for academia is understandable when she describes her least favorite teacher. "I had a teacher who used to always have food in his teeth. It was terrifying ... [when he came up to] talk to you [because you] were afraid that s--t was going to fly out at you."
Just when you thought she couldn't get more vapid (in the film), Elizabeth becomes convinced she needs to get breast implants to attract the right kind of guy (someone like a Chicago Bulls player) and quit her job. She schemes and embezzles money from the school, quietly committing crimes like stealing the profits from the seventh grade car wash and pretending to privately tutor her students. Then when Elizabeth meets a substitute teacher who happens to be a trust fund baby (Justin Timberlake) she vies for his affection against Amy Squirrel, (Lucy Punch) a teacher so zany that she gives her students apples because "they teach her so much."
Despite her comedic strength, Diaz couldn't save "Bad Teacher's" script, which must have been conceived in an all-nighter. Nagging holes in the plot prevent the film from reaching the level of mastery of recent movies like "Bridesmaids" or "Knocked Up." Who was Elizabeth before she started teaching? How did she survive teaching the year that she was engaged? These are questions that never would have been asked if "Bad Teacher" were an "A" movie.
"Bad Teacher" opens in theaters nationwide on June 24.