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BAD TEACHER (review)

Produced by Jimmy Miller, David Householter, 
Georgia Kacandes, Jake Kasdan, 
Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky
Screenplay by Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky
Directed by Jake Kasdan
Starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, 
Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins, Molly Shannon, 
Eric Stonestreet, Phyllis Smith, Thomas Lennon

I can imagine that the pitch was “Bad Santa in Middle School,” which might have been enough to sell a studio exec, but unfortunately not enough to sell an audience.  Director Jake Kasdan spends the film trying to shock without offending anyone is the first misstep in this flat comedy that tries real hard, but never really succeeds. 

Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a greedy, lazy manipulative middle school teacher who’s dumped by her rich fiancé and forced to return to the seventh day classroom.  She’s crude, opportunistic, selfish; doesn’t get along with the administration, staff or the students and wants fake tits to land a wealthy husband.

Writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg who wrote the abysmal Year One, continue their streak with characters rather than caricatures with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, uninspired jokes and a poorly structured plot that feels intent on making Diaz’s character go through a story arc that redeems her superficial and callow personality.

The fantastic supporting cast delivers uneven work; Punch is far too animated, Segal looks bored and Timberlake shows none of the promise that he’s delivered in films like Alpha Dog and The Social Network.
Bad Teacher isn’t particularly bad.  It’s just not particularly good.

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