Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bad Teacher

“Hi, I’m a math terrorist with close ties to algebra; I have weapons of math instruction.”

“You are going to get your teachin’ on!”
-- Amy Squirrel from Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher almost reaches the heights of getting on my list of favorite edgy teacher movies – I mean it is hilarious in parts and shows the absurdity of middle schools and teachers and just teaching in general– Cameron Diaz as Elizabeth Halsey is quite funny as the bitchy, self-centered teacher who is indeed in it for summers off and nothing more. She shows movies all the time; she has a false drawer in her desk with booze and drugs; she doesn’t know any of her students’ names. My favorite part, probably because I’m an English teacher myself, happens after she learns that she could earn a bonus if her students do well on the state test. So when she finally decides to actually try to teach To Kill A Mocking Bird she gives essays where she writes on them “stupid” and “stupider” and worse and has her class visit the gym where she wails a basketball at kids who give the wrong answer.

But, unfortunately, Bad Teacher misses comedic perfection in a lot of ways. The screen play is not very tight with throw away scenes here and there and a shameful underuse of some great character actors like Molly Shannon, Jillian Armenante (I always she think she’s hilarious in anything she’s in), and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family). Plus, the student scenes in the movie are not very well developed.

But even with all those flaws, I got some big laughs out of Bad Teacher, and, you know, I just might add it to the list.

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