Friday, July 8, 2011

Bad Teacher

Get out your rulers and textbooks, we're reviewing Bad Teacher!

I really like this cartoonized form of Diaz, though I may have overdone it with the markers. Thoughts?

This is a pretty funny movie and Diaz does a great job at being a character you simultaneously love and hate.  She's a strange protagonist to root for, but it's a fun and enjoyable ride nonetheless.

Elizabeth Halsey(Cameron Diaz) is a ditzy, opinionated, shallow blonde who only cares about finding a rich man to marry so she can be set for life. After she's dumped by her fiance, she has to fall back on the only thing she can do adequately: teaching. When When a new sub is brought it (Justin Timberlake), who happens to be loaded, she pulls out all the stops to raise enough money to get a boob job to impress him.  Inappropriate schoolyard antics ensue.

Diaz is the main pull of this movie and she doesn't disappoint.  She's the glue that holds this swearing cockamamy story together.  She does a great job of playing someone who does all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. No one could possibly like her as a person, but I love her as a character. She's not too nasty or evil to be over the top in her acts, and she has clear and understandable wants and desires. She was one of those pretty girls in school who was told she can get by with just her looks, and now that's exactly what she sets up to do: the least amount of work possible to get a rich husband.

Her character feels so real and well written I feel like I've met girls like this.  When she wants to impress someone she cakes on the make up, puts on a shiny dress and a shit eating grin and lies through her teeth. All other times she wears frumpy comfortable clothes, doesn't care bout anything, and spends her time drinking and toking up.  She's superficial, not out of stupidity but out of apathy. She's not so much racist, just ignorant and opinionated.  She's not mean for the fun of it, she's just brutally honest and doesn't care about your feelings.

All the rest of the actors are hilarious as well, especially Jason Segel who's just as apathetic as Diaz, but instead of trying just sits back and laughs at life. Timberlake is silly as the sub, Phyllis Smith from the office shines as a dimwit, and Lucy Punch plays a crazy Ms. Squirrel, Elizabeth's nemesis from across the hall.  And the kids are all cute, especially in the given situations.

The story had some nice twists and turns and it was enjoyable to its logical end.  It didn't have the same cliched tropes as most loser movies similar to this, which I liked.  Many people will probably have a problem with the story though.  Not to spoil anything, but there aren't really any repercussions for her bad actions(which is amazing if you know how bad these actions are).  Sure she learns a lesson, but she's not so much punished as she is agreeing not to be as bad a person as she was.  This has some huge moral issues, which I'll discuss in length in a future Sketched Discussion.  Don't think if this as a "Jerk learns her lesson and gets her shit together to become a better person" kind of movie, think of it as a superhero movie, but from the viewpoint of the villain. Also, the villain wins in the end.

There was an adequate amount of swearing and both sexual and potty humor, but not so much so that it's over the top and ruins the narrative like Your Highness.  In fact if you compare it to the red band trailer, they took out some of the swearing and actually changed scenes. I'm not sure if those jokes were just for the trailer to set up certain things or they took them out to make it flow better or maybe they ran out of cusses with the ratings board but it doesn't hurt it at all.  The DVD should make a pretty decent deleted scenes section.

Overall it was funny and I enjoyed it.  I loved the characters, and it didn't have a cookie cutter formula, which may be either good or bad depending on how moral you like your protagonists to be.  It's not the must see comedy of the summer, but it's worth checking out a viewing.

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