In the new Cameron Diaz movie, “Bad Teacher,” she plays – you guessed it – a bad teacher! More concerned with hooking up with a wealthy co-worker (played by her real life ex Justin Timberlake) than with her students, she doesn’t make much of an effort to actually educate until she learns there’s a cash bonus for the teacher with the highest classroom grade average.
Diaz will never be the funny, fresh face she was in “There’s Something About Mary” and “The Mask,” and in “Bad Teacher” that’s a good thing. The very slight patina of age and experience in her manner adds some extra desperation to Elizabeth, who is pretty on the outside but ugly underneath.
It’s a daring character to build a comedy around, and luckily, as good as Diaz is, she is leading a well cast ensemble. English actress Lucy Punch (last seen over here in the Woody Allen film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) brings some off kilter energy to Amy, a tightly wound teacher uses cute sayings,–like “I have weapons of math destruction.”—to teach her class. Also strong are “The Office’s” Phyllis Smith, Justin Timberlake, who performs the year’s most uncomfortable sex scene, and Thomas Lennon, but the movie’s heart and soul belong to Jason Segal who brings a easy humor and a great deal of charm to the role of gym teacher Russell. His warmth is a nice, and needed counterbalance to Diaz’s caustic gold digger.
The supporting cast don’t exactly rescue this movie–it doesn’t need rescuing–but without them “Bad Teacher” wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. “Bridesmaids” is still the funniest movie of the summer, but it is heartening to see another female lead comedy score so well.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.