Bad Teacher, not to be confused with Horrible Bosses, which opens in two weeks (is this the Snakes on a Plane effect at work?), is a one-joke film that inevitably wears out its welcome. But hey, at least the joke is pretty good.
The extremely game Cameron Diaz is Elizabeth Halsey, who teaches middle school to pay for a boob job (all the better to land a rich husband). She has nothing but contempt for her students—indeed, she’s usually too bored, hungover, or high to even notice them.
There’s one great sequence where Diaz—who performs the whole film wearing high heels, tight skirts, and a “screw you” snarl—marks up papers with comments like: “Could you BE any more stupid?” She also shows her kids inspirational teacher movies—Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, Dangerous Minds— in lieu of doing any actual teaching. This is funny, liberating even, in our PC world, where every child is a precious snowflake and every movie teacher just cares so darn much!
But Bad Teacher has no place to go. There’s Justin Timberlake—cute, but still not making a case for abandoning music— as a dorky and rich substitute teacher who Elizabeth pursues. He, however, only has eyes for fellow teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), a tightly wound goody two-shoes who is threatened by Elizabeth’s inhibition. There’s also Jason Segal—drifting in and out of the film in a cloud of pot smoke and snark—as a mellow gym teacher with the hots of Elizabeth. I laughed more than once during the film so Bad Teacher gets a passing grade, but just barely.