There is no doubt that Bad Teacher’s main character fully lives up to her title. The pot-smoking, binge-drinking Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) is less role model, more just-rolled-out-of-bed, and, as the tag line suggests, she really “doesn’t give an F”. Bad Teacher’s plot is perhaps slightly cliché and arguably shaky but the question is whether the cast have enough talent to pull it off and make it original.

The story gets going straight away, and no time is wasted in showing just how “un-teacherly” Elizabeth really is. Nursing hangovers (often choosing the “hair of the dog” method) and repeatedly telling her pupils how stupid they are make up the majority of her lesson plans. Forced to return to work once her dream to marry into money and give up teaching are scuppered, Elizabeth really cannot be bothered educating, choosing instead to stick a DVD on and sleep off the night before. Her blunt cut-downs and direct way of telling the kids to keep their mouths shut make for some hilarious scenes.

Punch is amusing in her role as the annoying Miss Squirrel…

When squeaky-clean new teacher Mr Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) arrives, she quickly tries to impress. Her quest to bag the wealthy Delacorte becomes her full-time job: after all, she can’t be expected to live off a teacher’s wage and put up with the brats all day. Little does she know that she has stiff competition from prissy Miss Squirrel (Lucy Punch).

There’s no doubt that Diaz is a funny lady and she manages to pull off a good performance, but the balance is somewhat ruined by Timberlake, who doesn’t really have the skills to hold his own. His overacted goody-two-shoes character is at times pretty cringe-worthy. Punch is, for the most part, amusing in her role as the annoying Miss Squirrel – her corny joke involving terrorism and “Al-gebra” is one of the funniest of the whole film. Jason Segel’s subtle and funny performance as the gym teacher (“Hold my ball sack?”) is also one of the high points of the film. The actors definitely make the most of the somewhat lacklustre storyline.

…give it a miss if you don’t enjoy shaky plotlines.

Bad Teacher is great for a rainy afternoon when you can’t handle anything too taxing, but give it a miss if you don’t enjoy bad language and shaky plotlines.

3 Stars

Image courtesy of Bad Teachers

 

 

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