Wednesday, 6 July 2011

REVIEW: Bad Teacher

I know people have been all like, Diaz's hotness is washed up etc., but girl looks pretty fine.

Mainstream studio comedy has probably always been more good then bad. For jokes to get past the numerous rewrites and conference meetings they're going to have to pretty universally broad. You imagine what pitches well does better than what works as a story, and thus this is why every studio comedy, for adults or kids, ends up something like Bad Teacher. A concept you can some up in one line, enough famous names to put on the poster and material enough you can make a trailer out of. Everything else can be allowed to slide accordingly. And while this doesn't always mean these films are terrible, funny people can often be funny whatever the circumstances, it does mean that it rarely works as a movie, because everything is so intentionally slender even a ninety minute running time feels stretched.

And Bad Teacher is this problem incarnate. Its a one joke sketch extended to something that's supposed to resemble a story, and after the first couple of times they told that joke to you it becomes sort of like, yeah so she's a teacher and she does bad things because she's bad. Despite this, I didn't hate this movie. I feel like if I'd just read the script I would have found it to be awful, but unfortunately for my credibility I found most of the performances to be funny in spite of everything. Particularly Lucy Punch, playing Diaz's tightly wound teacher nemesis, managed to do a lot with a little and certainly stole this movie and hopefully will get some better movies off the back of this. Jason Segel in possibly the world's most superfluous and empty straight man role is just great, adding at least a semblance of reality in a lamely exaggerated universe. As for Timberlake, well I'm not convinced he's a good actor yet, or even that funny. But even if people seem to grade his performances kindly simply because he's Justin Timberlake, he does show a willingness to laugh at himself that is endearing I suppose.

But like all studio comedies, it's not really a movie. More an idea, and a series of scenes designed to cheaply amuse around that idea. Thankfully I enjoyed the cast enough that I didn't mind that I wasn't laughing all that much, or that everything was way too derivative and generic. Like many people have said, its an inferior version of Bad Santa, and I didn't even like that film all that much. But thanks to Punch and Segel and even Diaz, who is having fun here in a way I haven't seen for quite some time, and for an actress who's taken as many pay-cheque roles as she lately, this is good to see. It's a shame the film around these guys couldn't have been better.

Rating: 5/10

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