Elizabeth Hasley is a substitute teacher who was biding her time before marrying a rich trophy husband. When he throws her to the curb, she returns to the school with her tail between her legs, determined to get through the school year with the least amount of effort.
The reason why Bad Teacher is so disappointing is because there was potential; Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake starring in a film after dating for three years, a solid support cast of Jason Segal, Phyllis Smith (The Office), Molly Shannon and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), plus a script penned by the writers of some of the best American Office episodes.
To be fair, they also wrote the script to the undercooked Jack Black – Michael Cera comedy Year One in 2009, which shares the same problems as Teacher. Not helped by a bland script, Diaz’s character of Elizabeth Hasley is completely unlikable. She’s a gold-digger, rude to her co-workers (including one who seems to be Kathy Griffin’s understudy) and doesn’t particularly care for doing a good job with her students.
The opening twenty minutes are so rushed and contain zero character development that it seems pointless to continue for the dreaded hour which follows. The only saviour at that point is Justin Timberlake, who has shown that he can hang with the heavyweights in his limited filmography. Unfortunately, his role is so wishy washy that even the most remarkable of performances could save a bummer of a script. If their chemistry in real life was this bland, I can see why Diaz and Timberlake broke up!
The film’s tagline says ‘She Doesn’t Give an F.’ So why should the viewer?
Look, this isn’t a film which warrants a Blu-Ray release. But the video transfer is what you’d expect from a major motion feature made in 2011, the picture looking crisp and colours vivid.
Quite possibly the best part of the film, the music featured throughout understandably packs a punch on the Blu-Ray. From Jenny 8675-309 to Gangsta’s Paradise, the music cranks out of the speakers and the mix is just right. What you’d expect from a Sony release.
The Blu-Ray doesn’t really differ from the DVD release, with Deleted Scenes, Featurettes and Blooper Reels to show you what a fantastic time the cast had filming this mess. There’s also a PS3 wallpaper, in case you want to show it off as a badge of honour that you made it through the film in one piece.
When you fail to show a redeeming trait in an unlikable character until the final thirty minutes, you have essentially failed screenwriting 101. While a somewhat solid performance from Jason Segal shows a flicker of promise, Bad Teacher was advertised as (and very much is) the Cameron Diaz show. They say bad things come in threes, but after The Box, Knight and Day, Green Hornet, Shrek Forever After and now Teacher, these poor films on Diaz’s resume keep coming and coming.