I’m getting this one out of the way. Bad Teacher. A coworker and I decided to head to the movies and, despite all of the fantastic films out right now, Bad Teacher was his choice (I was personally rooting for Horrible Bosses, but am a pushover…). So, here is my review.
This movie is a waste of time. I guess Justin Timberlake’s agent is really pushing for him to get in to more film. Watching his performance felt like watching a not-so-funny version of his Saturday Night Live skits, and at a much too extended pace. There is a reason those skits are 3-5 minutes long, and JT should not be exposed to film for any longer than this. I don’t know if it’s just that he cannot act, or if his over-the-top performances are somehow his idea of the roles? For sure, watching Justin Timberlake is like watching middle schoolers.
Apart from JT, the rest of the acting was actually tolerable. I’m already a fan of Jason Segel, and Phyllis Smith’s performance really cracked me up. I guess watching actors as a casting agent for so long really rubbed off on her. Cameron Diaz, of whom I’m not a tremendous fan, proved her chops, although in an entirely unlikeable and unredeemed character. I think she was supposed to be redeemed in the end, as she changes her gold-digging ways when she falls for the goofy and more ‘simpatico’ character of Mr. Gettis; but mostly I despised her character so much by that point that the obvious ending just wasn’t doing it for me.
Perhaps I’m being a touch unfair. There were some cute moments – I actually laughed my ass off at one point, over Phyllis Smith. But, I was the only one in the audience. The rest of the audience laugh lines were predictable and not funny moments. There was a lot of gold-digging and manipulation, by both of the main female characters. Perhaps this movie was meant to be a spoof on our education system – that standardized testing is too easy to cheat and, ultimately, meaningless. The even take a stab at a joke regarding the inherent racial discrimination of standardized testing! But then, I think I might be reading far more into the movie than the intentions of either the writer or the director.
Apart from the horrendous acting by Justin Timberlake, I was left trying to figure out what the hell his character even meant. He plays a long-term substitute teacher, who happens to be the grandson of a wealthy watch maker. Apparently this makes him a character who plays the politics incredibly well – he will agree with you no matter what stance you take (sharks tear families apart – but they’re majestic! – but they’re awful…), and apparently his idea of a good time is dry humping, as he cheats on his girlfriend. Even better, he gives the clever republican, anti-woman speech culminating in an attack on choice: “I’m pro-choice. Everyone should do what makes them happiest. Except abortion, of course.” I’m not sure if the role was meant as an attack on the ‘values’ protecting wealthy who play the political game all the time without even being aware of it, or if, again, as I suspect, I may be reading too much into it.
Ultimately, this could be a cute movie to see at the dollar theater, or on Netflix. But it is certainly not worth $11 to see it.