15 – 92mins – Comedy – 17th June 2011

Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) has somehow found herself as a school teacher during her life when all she wants to do is grab a man with lots of money who can provide for her. With her former fiancĂ© having worked out the truth and ditching her, Elizabeth has to return and teach for yet another school year much to her frustration. Not only does she have to teach the children but also has to keep the principal (John Michael Higgins) and goody two shoes teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) off her back while all the time fending off the gym teacher Russell’s (Jason Segel) advances.

Things start to look up then when she discovers the new substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) is sitting on a family fortune. But Elizabeth has competition from the ever perky/mentally unstable Amy so sets about getting money for a boob job that will be sure to win over Scott and his money. Confrontations get even more extreme when Elizabeth discovers there’s a cash prize for the teacher who achieves the best academic results.

Timberlake once again shows that he is more than apt in the role as a dorky geek with his transitions to the screen a lot more impressive than some other wanna be pop star actors out there. During the movie, there was a moment when I thought they were going to get him singing properly but luckily he knows how to rip on himself very well. I’m still not sure whether most of his laughs come from the fact that the audience knows he is Justin Timberlake and he is doing weird things or whether it is because of his character. I’m inclined to say the former but he still got the laughs.

The others did their jobs with nothing spectacular but no duds either. Special credit goes to Phyllis Smith who plays Lynn the introvert teacher who is always pushed around and Segal who’s performance merited more screen time. It also wouldn’t be a Diaz film if there wasn’t some point at which she lost a few layers and despite being just shy of the big four O she sure knows how to pull off a car wash scene.

There was something with the soundtrack that I liked as well. It suited the mood and gave that scheming feeling which was apparent whenever Diaz or Punch were on screen.

Bad teacher impresses more than I thought it was going to with a combination of over the top characters that play off of each other well and several cringe worthy moments leading the way in the laughing stakes (I actually laughed quite a few times). Sure there were some jokes that didn’t quite make the cut for me and the reverting to toilet humour cropped up a couple of times but these instances were few and far between. It’s certainly better than the long list of mediocre comedies that have been shown so far this year (Hall Pass, The Hangover Part II, The Dilemma) and is certainly worth a watch.

Rating: B-


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