Film review | Bad Teacher – Cameron Diaz’s crass comedy fails to make the grade

Bad Teacher - Cameron Diaz plays lazy, mean and mercenary teacher Elizabeth

As the titular Bad Teacher, Cameron Diaz’s Elizabeth is marking time rather than her pupils’ homework.

Mean-spirited, mercenary and lazy, she’s simply using her profession as a time-filler until she can sink her hooks into a rich dupe. Having just been dumped by her well-heeled fiancé, she ignores the advances of Jason Segel’s laid-back gym instructor and sets her sights on Justin Timberlake’s new substitute teacher, who’s dull, dim but filthy rich. Unfortunately, perky colleague Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) also has her eye on the newcomer.

Convinced she needs a boob job to compete for his affections, Elizabeth will stop at nothing to raise the funds for the op – even if that means flaunting her ass in a pair of Daisy Dukes to run a car wash or donning an Annie-wig disguise to seduce an exam board dweeb.

Like its anti-heroine, Bad Teacher is crass and coarse. That needn’t mean an automatic fail. In the right hands, bad taste can be good – as Diaz and the Farrelly Brothers proved with There’s Something About Mary.

Sadly, with a script that’s almost as slapdash as Elizabeth’s lessons, Bad Teacher isn’t slick enough to make the grade. Diaz gets a gold star for effort, but it’s Punch’s chipper Miss Squirrel, as bushy-tailed as her namesake, who steals the film.

On general release from 17th June.


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