Cameron Diaz stars in 'Bad Teacher': movie review

Cameron Diaz plays a gold-digging teacher who gets an education of her own in the movie 'Bad Teacher,' a raucous, cynical comedy.

Gemma LaMana/Columbia Pictures - Sony/AP
Jason Segel (l.) and Cameron Diaz are shown in a scene from 'Bad Teacher.'
Gemma LaMana/Columbia Pictures - Sony/AP
Cameron Diaz is shown in a scene from 'Bad Teacher.'

The game plan of “Bad Teacher” is quite simple – create a middle school variant on “Bad Santa.” I happen to like “Bad Santa.” When it came out, I was more than amused by the angry ruckus from people who, apparently, like little Virginia, think Santa Claus is real.

Jake Kasdan’s “Bad Teacher,” written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, has its lewd funniness, though not often enough to make it worthy of not only “Bad Santa” but, more to the point, “School of Rock.”

Cameron Diaz’s Elizabeth Halsey is a middle school English teacher – at least I think she teaches English – who is on the prowl for a rich guy after her wealthy fiancé dumps her for running up a whopping tab on his credit card. Her immediate goal: pulling together the many thousands she’ll need for a first-class breast implant job.

A rich but dweeby new teacher, played by Justin Timberlake, ends up being snared by a ding-a-ling/dweeby social studies teacher, played with pinpoint goofiness by Lucy Punch. That leaves gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel), who doesn’t let his slim bank account slow down his advances to the unadmiring Elizabeth.

These two seem made for each other – he’s hip to all her scams and enjoys watching them disintegrate – but her conversion from gold-digging shrew to (sort of) good girl is way too rapid. On the other hand, this 92-plus-minute movie seems overlong. Grade: B- (Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, and some drug use.)

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