The movies offer a long line of great educators to draw inspiration from. There’s Edward James Olmos in STAND AND DELIVER; Morgan Freeman in LEAN ON ME; and even Michelle Pfeiffer in DANGEROUS MINDS. And while that last example might seem a bit of a stretch, she is still infinitely more admirable than Cameron Diaz in BAD TEACHER. In fact, Diaz’s first month of class curriculum consists entirely of watching these three films so that she can sleep at her desk after downing a shot of Jack first thing every morning.
Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a man-eating, money-grubbing cheat who will say and do anything necessary to ensure she is very well taken care of. Just when she thinks she is set to retire from teaching and marry rich, she is promptly dumped and forced to head back to school for another year. Her new goal is to buy herself some new breasts in hopes of landing an even dumber, richer man than her previous fiancé. BAD TEACHER is pretty light on plot; essentially a group of teachers co-exist at school for the duration of a year and hijinks ensue. Fortunately, these teachers are made up of an incredibly amusing cast of funny people, from Justin Timberlake as Elizabeth’s naïve, new love interest with deep family pockets and very little going on upstairs to Jason Segel as Elizabeth’s obviously better-suited mate, whom she must learn to lower her standards for, as he is just gym teacher after all. It is Lucy Punch who gets the “Teacher of the Year” award though as Elizabeth’s goody-goody nemesis with emotional issues from across the hall.
Director, Jake Kasdan, isn’t kidding around with BAD TEACHER. Elizabeth is a pretty bad person altogether; her badness as a teacher, a mere offshoot of her essentially nasty core. Diaz does bad disturbingly well though, making summer school this year suddenly very cool.