Nonstop review: ‘Bad Teacher’

By Myong Choi
Special to Nonstop

I’ve always enjoyed Cameron Diaz in comedies rather than dramas, because she often plays the incredibly hot woman who seems to be attainable because she acts like just one of the guys. Whether she’s watching SportsCenter in “There’s Something About Mary” or dancing in Spiderman undies in “Charlie’s Angels,” there’s always been a down-to-earth quality about her that makes men think they have a shot with her.

Thankfully, Diaz returns to comedy in “Bad Teacher,” where she plays Elizabeth Halsey, a middle school teacher who couldn’t care less about her job. She regularly smokes weed and drinks during school hours and shows movies about teaching instead of doing any teaching herself. After being dumped by her fiance and accused of marrying him for his money, she becomes intent on earning enough money for a boob job, which she’s convinced will help her land her next sugar daddy. Along comes substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), who’s young, attractive and heir to a famous watch company — the perfect catch. Elizabeth then lies, cheats and steals to obtain the money for the boob job, as well as the attention of the new teacher.

Diaz is great at comedy, and you can tell she’s having a blast playing nasty with this character. She’s a natural at swearing like a sailor or throwing an insult at anyone she sees. She truly shines in this role. Supporting Diaz are several TV veterans, including Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”), Phyllis Smith (“The Office”) and Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”), who all turn in great comedic performances. Timberlake is the one weakness in the cast. While I thought he was great in “The Social Network,” he seems a bit lost in this film and isn’t really given anything funny to do with the exception of a quirky sex scene.

And that’s the primary problem with the film. No matter how talented the actors are, they can only do so much with this script. “Bad Teacher” is a great idea for a film, but doesn’t come together. As a result, there aren’t any hilarious, fall-out-of-your-seat moments, just a few chuckles sprinkled here and there. The pacing is also a bit slow in areas, and there’s not enough interaction with the kids. The scenes with them are among the best in the film.

Still, it’s enjoyable enough, and I can see myself watching it again on cable or DVD as a time killer. So if you have to see it in the theaters, try to check out a matinee show and save a few dollars.

Myong’s past movie reviews

“Cars 2”
“Green Lantern”
“Super 8”
“X-Men: First Class”
“The Hangover Part II”