‘Bad Teacher’ is bad indeed (IANS Movie Review)

August 20th, 2011 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Cameron Diaz Film: “Bad Teacher”; Cast: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake; Director: Jake Kasdan; Rating: *1/2

It’s one of the most frivolous plots imaginable — a bad, foul mouthed school teacher working her way through by hook or crook just to get a boob-job done. And though this wafer-thin, sexist film may be bad in most departments, it will perhaps work for some people — most of all for those who are as flippant as the character.

Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) is the kind of teacher who is bad enough to give the worst of teachers a bad name. She dopes, drinks, is foul-mouthed and sexually inappropriate — all of this in her class. Her only ambition in life is to marry a rich guy. To do that, she thinks she needs work on her breasts, for which she needs 10,000 dollars. She does everything in her power as a school teacher, and beyond, to somehow manage that money. She also faces competition from another teacher out to expose her.

Cameron Diaz is too old to play a young, pesky teacher. However, it is her age and experience that gives her character an I-care-a-damn attitude which gives the film a little semblance of credulity and its few funny moments.

The story, as expected, is predictable. However, the gags and the jokes could have been original. Sadly, there isn’t much luck on that front either. The humour is tasteless and the acting, in most parts, is bland. However, that may not be such a bad thing since the film has a sense of mockery about it. It is irreverent of everything, including itself.

But most of all it is perhaps impudent towards our times without really intending it. It is a film that would not have been considered by studios worthy of wasting precious money and an expensive star on. However, the fact that it exists and is getting a global release means that the producers know that come what may, they won’t lose out. Sign of the times? Definitely.

And though there was an opportunity for its humour to be dark, sharp and witty, we instead have some overused and stale jokes that fail the film as well as the actors who do try to revive the movie, but to no effect.

Yet, it has a kind of mawkishness that will work for some kind of people, especially the bad-to-the-bone ones. It’s a film made for them.

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