Bad Teacher After a highly effective smutty wink of an ad campaign, one could be forgiven for thinking that the "bad" in Bad Teacher refers to a… Bad Teacher After a highly effective smutty wink of an ad campaign, one could be forgiven for thinking that the "bad" in Bad Teacher refers to a… 2011-06-24 R PT89M Comedy Cameron Diaz Jason Segel Justin Timberlake
Movie Review

Bad Teacher (2011)

MPAA Rating: R

Photos

Summer movies we can't wait to see
by EW Staff | May 05, 2011

''X-Men: First Class,'' ''Harry Potter,'' ''Green Lantern'': See our checklist of the hottest upcoming flicks

EW's GRADE
C

Details Release Date: Jun 24, 2011; Rated: R; Length: 89 Minutes; Genre: Comedy; With: Cameron Diaz

After a highly effective smutty wink of an ad campaign, one could be forgiven for thinking that the ''bad'' in Bad Teacher refers to a public-school educator who fools around with her students. A lot of adolescent males may turn out opening weekend in the hope of seeing Cameron Diaz stoke their hot-for-teacher fantasies. But that — sorry, dudes! — is not what the movie's about. Make no mistake: Diaz's Elizabeth Halsey is bad — she's a heartless, coarsely self-centered, and manipulative schemer. The only reason she's a teacher at John Adams Middle School is because her fiancé dumped her for being a gold digger, and she needs to support herself. Her one goal in life is to land $10,000 for breast-enhancement surgery.

To get through the day, she babysits her seventh graders by showing teacher movies like Stand and Deliver; she smokes dope and lies through her overbright red lipstick; she makes racial slurs (''This is why the Japs are overtaking us!'' she exclaims, reading her students' papers); and she flirts like a paid escort with the sexy-nerd substitute Mr. Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) — but only because he's the heir to a watch-company fortune. The basic joke of Bad Teacher, which director Jake Kasdan hits over and over again, is that Elizabeth is the most dislikable character of the year. Diaz, in smeary make-up, certainly makes her ill-tempered shrillness convincing, but there isn't much spark to her performance, and there's so little bounce — or real shock — to the film's overly controlled look how rude we're being! black comedy that the audience is left stranded. We're not on Elizabeth's side, or anyone else's, really. We're just watching a film try to pass off misanthropic blunt-wittedness as ''edge.''

Kasdan thinks in outdated music-video shorthand, trotting out Diaz in Daisy Dukes for a ''horny'' car-wash scene, and getting his actors to pelt each other with invective. Timberlake has enough campy sincerity to make you wish he'd been allowed a different note, and Jason Segel, as a romantic phys-ed instructor, lays on the puppy-dog sweetness. The one actor I enjoyed was Lucy Punch as Elizabeth's nice-teacher enemy. Bearing a physical resemblance to Lady Gaga (though more angelic and less outlandish), she turns this Goody Two-Shoes into the world's most self-actualized Valley Girl. Even when she's insufferable, you like her. That's a trick the movie could have used more of. C

Check into this and our other highly anticipated summer movies at GetGlue to earn EW Summer Movie stickers.

Originally posted Apr 20, 2011 Published in issue #1161 Jul 01, 2011 Order article reprints

More Summer Movies

Photo Gallery Movie scenes that make YOU cry

''Ghost'' to ''Steel Magnolias'' to ''Dumbo'' -- moments you say get you reaching for a hankie every time

Summer movies: Leading ladies!
by EW Staff

Women who'll bring the heat to the multiplex this season, from new faces to longtime fan faves

Photo Gallery: Summer Movie Guide 50 most vile movie villains
by EW Staff | May 17, 2013

Jury's out on Benedict Cumberbatch's hush-hush ''Star Trek'' character; where would YOU put him on our ultimate list of cinematic baddies?

Photo Gallery 49 unforgettable nude scenes
by EW Staff | Nov 01, 2010

Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf in ''Nymphomaniac''; see others who've disrobed for a role

Advertisement
Weekend of Oct 26 Box Office Source: Rentrak Corp.
Rank Title Weekend Gross* Weeks on Chart Cume. Gross* EW Grade
1.
Ouija
Universal
$20.0 1 $20.0 C-
2.
John Wick
Lionsgate
$14.1 1 $14.1 A-
3.
Fury
Sony
$13.0 2 $46.0 C+
4.
Gone Girl
Fox
$11.1 4 $124.1 A
5. $9.8 2 $29.9 A-
6.
St. Vincent
Weinstein Co.
$8.1 3 $9.2 B
7. $7.0 3 $45.5 B
8.
The Best of Me
Relativity
$4.7 2 $17.7 D
9.
The Judge
Warner Bros.
$4.3 3 $34.4 B
10.
Dracula Untold
Universal
$4.3 3 $48.3 C
* in millions

From Our Partners