‘Bad Teacher’ is the Funniest Film of the Year (so far…)

Thursday, July 7, 2011
By Kevin Crossman

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz

Bad Teacher features a cast of creative professionals with which we’re familiar, and in nearly every way they rate with high marks in front and behind the camera. I found the movie to be hilarious and greatly enjoyed the film.

Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth, a teacher with ambitions to marry a rich man. After she is dumped by her fiance she returns to a new year of school in hopes of finding a man. Enter Scott, played by Justin Timberlake. Though he is a bit of a nerd, he’s also from a rich family so Elizabeth sets her sights on him. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is at odds with a perky, odd teacher named Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch, chewing the scenery just as much as she did in Dinner for Schmucks). Amy is also interested in Scott, creating more tension between her and Elizabeth.

If that plot summary makes the film seem like a typical RomCom, forget it. Bad Teacher comes from The Office writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and the film is directed by Walk Hard helmer Jake Kasdan. There are numerous subversive elements in the film. Some are obvious, such as Elizbeth’s drug use. Others are more subtle, such as a tension-filled Principal with a dolphin fetish played by John Michael Higgins (The Break-Up). Jason Segel pops in an out of the film as sort of a raunchy Yoda, offering commentary on the events of the film and simultaneously pursuing Elizabeth romantically. If you liked the philosophical vibe of Segel’s character in I Love You, Man, you’ll very much enjoy his performance in Bad Teacher.

There’s so much to love with the film. If you love teachers, you’ll find elements to hold onto. At the same time, Elizabeth and Amy both present two different kinds of nightmare teachers. There are some minor plot elements with some of the students, but overall the film plays like films such as Old School, where badly behaving anti-heroes are the protagonists of the film.

The Cast of Bad Teacher

The Cast of Bad Teacher

Also on hand are familiar faces Thomas Lennon (I Love You, Man), Molly Shannon and Rick Overton, Phyllis Smith (The Office), Dave Allen (Naked Trucker), and Matt Besser (Walk Hard). The film definitely earns it’s R rating, including lots of drug use, profanity, and some sexual situations. A few of the raunchy lines from the red-band trailer are not present in the final film, however.

Bad Teacher doesn’t quite get an A+. There’s some sloppy editing and a few too many plotlines that don’t quite come together. But, I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t laughed this hard at a movie in some time. If you’re looking for a 2011 R-rated comedy, Bad Teacher is the best so far this year. Better than Bridesmaids, waaaay better than The Hangover Part II. With hilarious dialogue and excellent performances from Diaz, Punch, Timberlake and Segel, Bad Teacher gets our highest rating.


4 Responses to “‘Bad Teacher’ is the Funniest Film of the Year (so far…)”

  1. Jack

    I liked it, but I thought Bridesmaids was leaps and bounds ahead of it. Too many periods without any laughs for me.

  2. Nathan

    This review might push me to go see it.

  3. tom P

    I agree with Nathan. Although I fully intend on seeing Horrible Bosses sometime this weekend.

  4. Chris

    I have to disagree with the 5 mugs. I’d give it 3 or 2.5 mugs.


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