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Review: ‘Bad Teacher’ not nearly bad enough

By Staff | Jun 29, 2011

By Tony Rutherford

Middle school role models inspire students to read, explore, respect elders and laws, and essentially do not challenge authority. Except Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz), who has somehow ended up with a teaching job: Short hours, summers off, being nearly impossible to discharge all meet her criteria for work until she says “I do” to a man with a seven figure bank account.

Gold digger Elizabeth has priorities, too — she’s got her eyes set on a new pair of breasts which cost $10,000. She’s determined to acquire them on a teacher’s salary. Then, the substitute with corporate watch manufacturing relatives will fall over into her chest.

Tossing in “Bad Teacher” to a summer mix that contained a depleted and drained “Hangover II” may have been genius. The script reverses the norm — the middle school kids want to grow and learn, but the sex bomb instructor has a few nagging habits — alcohol, drugs, sleeping in class. She’s there to collect a paycheck, plan her wedding, and disappear until a meddling mommy-in-law-to-be exposes her addiction to spending.

She’s neither an educator (“Haven’t you heard? Movies are the new books.”) nor a team player when it comes to discipline. More likely to be caught smoking medicinal weed, Diaz has a one track goal — snagging a rich man to take care of her. Her male students would vote her “favorite,” too as Miss Eye Candy Fashion Label.

Her classroom discipline (dodge ball toss) would not survive physical assault guidelines, but give Physical Education torture an “A-“ for screenwriting creativity. The same for the dealing with a rival as did the Wicked Queen in Snow White.

Cavorting skimpily at the school car wash wins best scene honors since, unfortunately, the farcical flick avoids pushing the envelope and stays within PG-13 guidelines, though it’s actually rated R.

A feud between upbeat teacher of the year, Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), maintains the freshness by a series of reversed tattling to the principal (one scene gets an A+) with Punch playing her educator as fitting in with the kids nicely due to her chemical imbalance.

Monotonous plastic surgery “boob” job references or not, the filmmakers stick with a barely over the edge “R,” gained from verbal themes and jabs, not intimate pairings. Similar to “Hangover II,” the end credit stills have more raunchiness which begs the question: What are producers afraid of in 2011? Must all films, even the restricted ones, have sexual correctness?

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