Far and away the biggest set of negative comments I’ve heard about this movie is that the humor is crude, that it is not appropriate for children, and “what was the studio thinking when they made this movie?” These offended people apparently didn’t notice the title of the freaking movie. She’s a bad teacher precisely because she’s not a shining example for children. In fact, she probably shouldn’t even be around them, and doesn’t want to be around them, but she has to be. Oh, and those parents who took their children to see the movie and were offended by it also failed to notice that the movie was rated R. Even then it shouldn’t be a problem because there’s little violence in the movie. Unfortunately, those kinds of people usually don’t have a problem with their kids seeing heads being blown off, but show them a set of boobs, or say some bad words, and it’s time to march on Hollywood with burning torches.
As for the “Justin Timberlake is sooo sexy” fans, prepare to be disappointed. The character he plays is rich, good looking….and pretty much the lamest guy you’ve ever met. Plenty of humor is derived from Timberlake playing a character like this, but for the people who went to see him get all sexy with Cameron Diaz, I’m sure it was very disappointing. For people in this group, don’t worry, you’ve got Friends with Benefits opening soon and the rumor is that you see his bare butt in it. Go forth and enjoy.
For people not in one of these two groups, the movie is about, you guessed it, a bad teacher. Cameron Diaz plays a gold digger whose fiancé calls off the wedding when his mother finally convinces him that Diaz is just marrying him for his money. In order to survive, Diaz has to stay in a teaching post she thought she was done with. Needless to say, she’s got a really bad attitude about life in general and teaching in particular.
She’s trying to find another meal ticket, but isn’t having much luck. One day a new teacher, played by Justin Timberlake, shows up at the school. He’s rich and Diaz sets her sights on him. Competing with her for Timberlake is another teacher who hates her. In addition, the gym teacher, played by Jason Segel, is interested in Diaz, but since he doesn’t have money she’s not interested in him. He keeps trying, though.
Diaz’s character isn’t getting anywhere with Timberlake’s character, so she decides what she needs to attract him is a bigger set of boobs (like his old girlfriend.) Those will cost her $10,000, though, so she starts doing a bunch of things to try to get the money, including trying to ahem “appropriate” the money earned at a school car wash. All the while she’s showing her students movie after movie about inspirational teachers, rather than teaching them anything. That all changes one day when she finds out that the teacher whose students score the highest on an upcoming state test wins several thousand dollars. Out go the movies and in come 100 page reading assignments on To Kill a Mockingbird, pop quizzes, and dodgeball teaching (if a student gets an answer wrong she throws a dodgeball at them; if they get one right they can throw the ball at her.) Oh, did I mention she’s teaching Seventh grade?
As you can tell, Diaz’s character is not a fine upstanding kind of person. You might even say she’s a bad teacher. (Hey, that’s the same as the name of the movie. I wonder if there’s a connection.)
If you’re up for a movie about a not-very-nice person who will go to funny lengths to get what she wants, and that doesn’t shove An Important Lesson down your throat, then give this movie a try. If you don’t like crude humor, want to see a sexy Justin Timberlake, or think that movies should have a good moral lesson in them, then you should skip this movie.
Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars