newscarly at the movies bad teacher

Carly at the Movies: ‘Bad Teacher’

Galileo lied. The old geezer claimed that the sun was the center of our solar system.

Well, he was obviously wrong. Our solar system is obviously boobacentric. Otherwise, why would a perfectly hot chick like Cameron Diaz go to so much trouble to raise ten thousand bucks for a boob job?

That’s the gnarly premise in the second Disgruntled Icon movie of the young summer. First there was Julia (Sigh!) Roberts teaching Speech Class in “Larry Crowne,” and now comes along Cameron Diaz, teaching Unacceptable Behavior in “Bad Teacher.” The title is honest, and the film is a heck of a lot funnier than was anticipated.

Cameron stars as an out-and-out gold digger, dumped by a rich dude, who decides to continue her teaching career in search of a rich high school instructor. (I’m sure there are millions of them around.)

In fact there is one, played by Justin Timberlake. (Note: I do not travel in the circle of people who are familiar with just it is that Justin Timberlake does, so I can only comment on his acting herein.) Justin Timberlake is adequate.

This is one of those films that reviewers always cop out on by saying, “it’s not for everyone.” Well, it’s not. But if you glggled, like I did, at the audacity and sassy, smirky black humor of “Bad Santa,” this film is a slam dunk.

Light-heartedly directed by Jake Kazdan, Miss Diaz proves once again that she is one of the best practditioners of screwball comedy in the whole knocked-up, knocker-loving universe known as Hollywood.

The secret to the success of bad teaching? Assemble a great supporting cast. Just look who’s in this film:

Jason Segel is that huge guy from “I Love You, Man” who was so blatantly humorous, and in this one he spends his time hitting on the hottie and half-heartedly teaching gym to the cowering students. Other sparkling professori at this Middle School include Phyllis Smith (of “The Office” fame), Molly Shannon, and a Just-Doesn’t-Get-It headmaster played by John Michael Higgins, one of my faves.

The star of the supporting cast, however, is Lucy Punch, playing one of those constantly upbeat, sugary sweet, phony baloney teachers we all know and hate. In the film she’s known as “Amy Squirrel” and is perfectdly named, as she tries to wiggle Justin out of Cameron’s grasp.

A note about Ms. Punch. She was picked by Variety Magazine as one of the ten newcomers to watch just last year, and is proving it. I’ve seen her in the wonderful British Sitcom “Doc Martin” (available on Netflix, and I’ve been waiting for a chance to recommend it to you) and she all but steals this movie from the top-liners.

What makes this film so funny? Cameron is everything we dreamed about as Middle School boys. We dared only to hope that someday we’d have a teacher who was a foul-mouthed, brazen, long-legged hottie who never game homework assignments and did nothing in class except show movies.

Perhaps you are wondering, by this time, if “Bad Teacher” is maybe without any visible social values. Well, there is a bit of a message there, tucked in amongst the irony of the endcing. But I left the theater wishing I had been gutsy enough, as a teacher, to acknowledge some of the hypocricy of the educational establishment.

But of course, that would have made me a bad teacher.

Carly at the Movies column by Carl Larsen



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