Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, the screen-writers who brought us the piss-poor alleged comedy, YEAR ONE, markedly improve with their new comedy, BAD TEACHER, but still have a long way to go. Cameron Diaz is deliciously scabrous as the cynical gold-digging teacher, Elizabeth Halsey. She spends most of the movie scamming her way to the cash-prize for highest student test score results - money she needs to fund a boob job, that will help her snag a rich football player, or at a pinch her flaky but rich co-worker Scott, played by Justin Timberlake. Problem is that the goody-goody co-worker is falling for the irritatingly up-beat, not to mention suspicious, Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch). And poor Jason Segel has to look on as warm-hearted gym teacher, Russell, killing time for the third act redemption scene.
The resulting film is an entirely predictable, and pretty banal rom-com. Its virtue is that it's short (under 90 minutes sans credits), and while never as subversive as its name-sake BAD SANTA, it has enough comedy-cameos to propel it forward. Lucy Punch is turning into a regular scene-stealer with her pitch-perfect performance as Miss Squirrel, and I also really like The Office's Phyllis Smith as Elizabeth's dopey friend and fellow-teacher Lynn. Do I need to see this film again, ever? Nope. Did it have me laughing out loud? Nope. But it was a perfectly fun way to spend an hour and a half, and it reminded me just how good Cameron Diaz is at comedy.
BAD TEACHER is on release in the UK and Ireland. It goes on release on June 23rd in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the US and Sweden. It opens on July 7th in Argentina, on July 27th in France, and on July 28th in the Czech Republic. It opens on August 6th in Japan, on August 12th in Lithuania, on August 18th in Greece and Hungary and on August 25th in Singapore. It opens on September 1st in Hong Kong, on September 2nd in Italy, on September 23rd in Colombia and on October 20th in Malaysia.