Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Bad Teacher" makes mockery of public education

HOLLYWOOD – Producing a film that devalues the unceremonious profession of teaching takes a lot nerve; especially in today’s dire public educational climate. However, to be considered a theatrical success, the flick should, at the very least, generate a few laughs in consolation.

A vigorous comedy that underscores an abundance of unladylike desires, “Bad Teacher” falls miserably short in the funny department. The story chronicles the moral failures of Elizabeth Halsey (played by Cameron Diaz), a promiscuous, raunchy, somewhat thuggish middle-school teacher who’s disturbingly content with guzzling liquor, tossing profanity-laced tirades and getting high.

After getting dumped by her rich fiancé, Elizabeth is forced back into teaching; a profession she’s obviously unsuited for. “I don’t need a blackboard or a classroom to set an example,” said Elizabeth in defense of her unsatisfactory teaching methods.

“From now on my full-time job is finding a guy who’s gonna take care of me.”

In spite of her advanced age, 38-year-old Elizabeth is in mad pursuit of a $20,000 boob job. She also speaks openly to colleagues about delivering sexually-explicit favors.

“I want to sit on his face,” said Elizabeth to a faculty member.

“When’s the last time you had a good dicking?” she asked another.

To compound matters, Elizabeth made a controversial habit of showing up to school every morning donning short mini-skirts while wearing no bra and/or panties.

*Critic’s note: Does the term ‘midlife crisis’ permeate Hollywood theater? Like Stacey Dash and LisaRaye McCoy in VH1’s ‘Single Ladies,’ Diaz’s character comes off as a desperate, gold-digging, middle-aged hooker clinging on to what was once considered above average looks. Her implacable advances are not sexy. Instead, they’re pathetic and borderline delusional. Ladies, once you approach or reach the conservative age of 40, please let it go.

Moving on…

Written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, and directed by Jake Kasdan, the movie brings into question the sad premise for which it was originally conceived. After all, Elizabeth is more concerned with scamming money for her breast implants than improving classroom participation or state-mandated test scores.

For instance, Elizabeth told a distraught male student, if younger, she wouldn’t date him either. Her lesson plans often involve showing R-rated movies in class that have absolutely nothing to do with the curriculum.

Also, while puffing marijuana on school property, Elizabeth told one of her aspiring female students it’s flat foolish to entertain the idea of becoming president someday. Hell, about the only thing Elizabeth doesn’t do wrong is sleep with her students.

That’s because she has a new teacher, Scott (Justin Timberlake), within full-view of her salacious crossfire.

To obtain Scott’s affection, however, Elizabeth has to battle a rival teacher, Amy (Lucy Punch) while ignoring a more suitable romantic interest, Russell (Jason Segel), in the process.

The narrative gets even wackier from there.

In summary, “Bad Teacher” delivers a surplus of obscene behavior while yielding to an equally disappointing shortage of awe-inspiring comedy. Timberlake does an adequate job of playing a geeky, bow tie-wearing educator.

Although I must admit, the comical ‘White Woman Loves Nerd’ theme has become as redundant as the proverbial ‘Lonely Black Woman Seeks Desperate Male’ plot that continues to haunt African-American theater.

Diaz, once a funny, sexy, movie personality, shined in such entertaining films as “There’s Something About Mary” and “Charlie’s Angels.” Nevertheless, it’s simply embarrassing to watch her slum through a production as morally ungratifying and visually repulsive as this one.

“Bad Teacher” is more than just an accurate depiction of ineptitude, porn talk and sick, crude comedy.

The film also makes a mockery of public education.

Popcorn BagsPopcorn BagsRating: 2 out of 5 Popcorn Bags

Wayne HodgesWayne Hodges, an MBA from St. Mary University, is the Editor-in-Chief of “Mass Appeal News.” He also serves as a contributing writer to, he’s a Democrat reporter for the Examiner, and he’s a movie critic and journalist with Wayne welcomes your comments 24/7 at

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