Bad Teacher (2011)

Bad Teacher. SO many different things go through my head when I see or hear those words. Most of these things are unsuitable for me to mention here, so I won’t mention them. However, one thing I can tell you about, is the recent comedy film starring Cameron Diaz (Vanilla Sky / Shrek / There’s Something About Mary), Justin Timberlake (Friends With Benefits / Shrek the Third) and Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother / Forgetting Sarah Marshall). What a list of great films or shows, eh? So in that case, this’ll be amazing, right?

Hell yeah! It’s brilliant. I know for a fact I’m going to have to tone down what I really think about this, because I always over-do the films which show some kind of sexual content, but I’m going to find it hard to do with this one. As usual, I’ll start with the plot.

Elizabeth Halsey is a terrible teacher, smoking marijuana, doing other drugs, gets drunk and gets kids to watch films while she sleeps. (I wish my teachers were like this!) Her rich fiance dumps her so she has to continue teaching (she planned to quit), much to her dismay. She wants to win over the substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake), as does her ‘across-the-hall-buddy’, Ms Squirrel (Lucy Punch). The Gym Teacher (Jason Segel) makes passes at Elizabeth, which she rejects because of his career. Elizabeth plans to get her breasts enlarged, to attract attention from richer men. She cannot afford the money, however, so when she hears about the school car-wash having raised a few thousand dollars, she immediately takes an interest, as do all the male or lesbian locals. (She wears provocative clothing and does some very sensual things with the hose, sponge and soap suds…) She takes some of the money, which Squirrel tells to the principal, claiming that is it embezzlement. He dismisses the claims as groundless.

Elizabeth finds out that there is a $5,700 bonus for whichever teacher’s class gets the best scores in the upcoming state exams (the money going to the teacher). She decides to actually teach the student for a change, causing confusion and annoyance when they don’t successfully learn the lesson. Panic setting in, Elizabeth seduces and drugs the exam safe-guarder, stealing a copy of it when he is unconscious. Her class get the highest scores and she gets the bonus, paying for her breast enlargement.  Squirrel and the Sub end up chaperoning a field trip (as a couple) so Elizabeth smears Poison Ivy on an apple, causing Squirrel to have blisters all over her face. Elizabeth steps in and fills the missing role of chaperone.

Whilst they are away, Squirrel switches desks and uncovers the exam cheating, which she reveals to the principal. He finds some things out and calls for the exam safe-guarder and Elizabeth to talk with his, Squirrel and the superintendent when Elizabeth returns. Also, on the trip, a student reveals his love for another student, before being mocked. He runs off and Elizabeth chases after him, telling him that he doesn’t have a chance until college. This chat, which is much longer than I’m saying, gives her a revelation about her own behaviour. She also gives him her bra and tells the class that ‘he hooked up with an 8th grader, who was tossing him off’. Some kids mock him until he shows the bra. Elizabeth and the Sub dry-hump, with Elizabeth calling Squirrel so that it saves as a message and she finds out.

When they return to the school, Elizabeth is asked about the cheating, but denies everything, which is when they bring in the exam safe-guarder, who has been blackmailed by Elizabeth (she took embarrassing photo’s of him when he was drugged). When she notices that the desks were switched, Elizabeth mentions that teachers have been doing drugs, so sniffer dogs are brought in, heading straight to ‘Squirrel’s’ desk. Squirrel is moved to a terrible school and the Sub wants a relationship with Elizabeth, but she rejects in favour of the Gym Teacher. The next year, she takes a new outlook on life, having not had the enlargement (she looked great anyway), being a lot nicer to everyone and working as the guidance counselor for the school…

Well. 600+ words and it’s summed up! Good work team!

I like that plot. It’s a bit predictable in places, but generally speaking, its not bad. I mean, it’s not great, but it has it’s moments. The whole ‘desk-swap’ thing was unexpected, but after she did it, I knew that there would be a drug issue. As for becoming the guidance counselor? No way. She wouldn’t get that job. Not a chance in hell. That suggests that she’ll stop being immoral, which really ruins my fun. The best bit? Definitely the car wash. I could watch hours of that kind of thing!

Characters. Well, they were reasonably well-developed, by which I mean, I knew how they were thinking. Obviously, we didn’t know about the photos until they were used, but they were an obvious and clever solution which I should have seen coming. The whole teacher feud thing worked well and in all honesty, my favourite teacher is the one character that everyone would have forgotten about. Ms Davies. You know why? She has a constant internal conflict, in which she debates, against herself, the morals of pretty much everything he could do in any situation. She talks, to herself, about whether she’ll be at an orientation, scratch that, she’ll leave early, or she might stay to the end, or maybe not pay attention or… GENIUS!

Visually, the film is great. No, not just Cameron Diaz’s luscious body, but also the whole realistic look the school had. I could genuinely imagine Bart and Lisa sat in those classrooms. Really. It’s the kind of classroom I can imagine myself teaching in one day. Honest!

Comedy. It’s a comedy. Is it funny? Yes. It is. We can see some jokes miles off, but some are so obscurely great, that they catch you out. There’s a bit where Elizabeth and the Gym Teacher are in the gym, doing weed, when she tries to climb a rope. He mocks her inability, then tries himself, barely doing any better. She says he has no upper body strength, which he refutes with ‘I have upper body strength, just not in my arms or chest…’. I saw the rope thing coming. The upper body strength, not being in the upper body? A better laugh, as well as an unexpected one!

Is there a downside? Yes. Will I mention it? Yes, but you’ll just me badly for it… Will I do it? Yes. I will. We saw ONE pair of tits in the whole film. ONE. ONE! Not a terrible thing, but it takes a point off. Sorry!

Well, that said, I will stop the review now. Final score? Here it comes.


That Guy

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