Sunday 19 June 2011

168: Review - Bad Teacher

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Bad Teacher poster

Bad Teacher
19 June 2011. Location: Cinema

Wow, I can't remember the last film I saw at the cinema that failed to engage me this completely. Even a movie as shite as Skyline managed to outrage me on some minor level, but Bad Teacher doesn't even accomplish that; it just makes me weary.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting an original sassy comedy, but I was expecting it to be at least average. Part of me wants to say that the movie could be better, but sadly I fear that it couldn't.

Cameron Diaz manages to be 'not quite' bad enough as the slacker teacher. Which is to say that as callous and superficial as her character acts, she never quite convinces. I don't mean that in a "oh, there's obviously good in her" kind of a way, just that it's badly done. There's clearly no way that such an apparently appalling teacher would get a job in any school (
according to the Wiki page, the school's meant to be in a poor area, and so presumably low down in the league tables. Although nothing in the film suggests this). So at the part of the film where she spots a money-making opportunity and buckles down to actually teach her kids, this sudden burst of efficiency and discipline is just as bewildering. Likewise, when she apparently undergoes the change in her moral standpoint (in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment of realisation), it's just as unconvincing as the rest of her character arc.

I know that all sounds like I'm overanalysing, but that's only because there's so little substance to it. And this, in essence, is the problem I had with the film; It's 90 minutes of an overdone idea, poorly executed and with no real flair or commitment. Just about everyone in the movie is phoning in their performances, and I include the writers in that. At the end of the movie, I felt nothing for any of the characters. Not even resentment at having had my evening wasted. That's not how films are supposed to work.

The only bright points in the film are Jason Segel and Lucy Punch. Segel comes off as his usual likeable self, although his 'Russell the gym teacher' is chronically underdeveloped considering he's meant to be the only normal character in the film. Punch gets a bit more to work with and ends up as perhaps the only cast member who'll be proud to have this on their CV.

All in all: I'd like to say this film is awful, but it doesn't even try hard enough for that. It's more like a big, half-arsed mess that never made it past the first-draft.

Worst bit? The director, Jake Kasdan, is the son of Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter on Empire, Jedi, and Raiders. He can do better than this.
Anyone can do better than this.


2/7. Must try harder.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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