By: Jenna Zine (A Toast) –
For another opinion, you can read the rebuttal review here.
Cameron Diaz knocks it out of the park as Elizabeth Halsey, a hard-partying stoner who could care less about her day job as an educator. Elizabeth thinks she’s got the high life in the bag via her wimpy (but wealthy) fiancé. She’s thrown for a loop when his controlling mother intervenes on their wedding plans. Elizabeth is forced back to work, but has her eye on another wealthy beau to save her, substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake).
Let’s get a few things out of the way. Yes, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake used to date. Much has been made about the fact that they agreed to do a movie together, but the former chemistry only enhanced their performances. Any lingering awkwardness was put to use perfectly in the most amazing dry humping scene I’ve ever seen. Think about that for a minute!
It’s also true that Cameron’s character is the female equivalent to Billy Bob Thornton’s brilliant turn in Bad Santa. She’s wholly believable as a narcissistic, shallow woman who’s only out for herself. Her disdain for children is laughably evident.
Due to the early negative feedback, I went to the theater with a bit of trepidation. The sun finally showed up in Portland, Oregon and I was bummed to be missing a moment of it. I strolled into the stuffy theater and thought, “This had better be good.”
I was delighted right out of the gate when Elizabeth walked into her fiancé’s luxury home and shouted out, “I’m gonna suck your dick like I’m mad at it,” only to find his mother waiting for her in the living room. And you thought it would be awkward working with Justin!
From what I’ve heard, this is not the first time they’ve met. Wink, wink!
What I don’t agree with are the negative reviews I’ve been reading on other websites (that mainly focus on Jake Kasdan’s directing, as well as the script by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky penned the admittedly awful Year One, but balance that out with their many writing credits on The Office). I found the film to be exactly what it promised – light, hilarious and highly enjoyable. While the beloved Bridesmaids dragged a bit for me, I appreciated the tight editing and shorter running time of Bad Teacher. I’m not sure why critics are ripping apart the script – the aforementioned dry humping scene, along with the addition of Elizabeth’s Craigslist roommate and the all-teacher Period Five band were fun twists I haven’t seen elsewhere.
As for Timberlake, I’m not a fan of his but even I have to admit that he didn’t once break character. He played the nerd with wide-eyed innocence to the hilt. Whoever cast this film deserves a nod. Not only was Diaz the perfect choice, but also the addition of Jason Segel as Russell Gettis (the gym teacher and Elizabeth’s ultimate match), Phyllis Smith as Lynn Davies (yep, Phyllis from The Office as Elizabeth’s unlikely friend) and Lucy Punch as the perfectly named Amy Squirrel (Halsey’s rival in school and love) were outstanding. Lucy almost stole the show – we’ll surely be seeing more of her soon.
Over here, I’m with a super hot babe!
Fans of the offbeat laugh will dig this film. If Cameron’s smoking hot body and gift for comedic timing do not entrance you, you’ll surely be enthralled by the pitch-perfect character actors. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, even if it is sunny out.
School attendance might improve if all teachers looked like this…
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Elizabeth listens to a butt-rock 80’s tune full blast.
Take a drink: every time Amy Squirrel does something manic.
Take a drink: every time Little Orphan Annie’s wig shows up. You’ll know what I mean!
Take a shot: every time Elizabeth secretly parties during the school day.
Don’t waste another second getting back to the great outdoors – there are no bonus clips during (or after) the credits.