Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bad Teacher. B+

After writing about the detritus that's The Change-Up, I'd like to turn to one of the better comedies of the year, Bad Teacher. True, it has neither the cleverness of School of Rock nor the audacity of Bad Santa, but at least avoids the trap of post-Hangover comedies and makes an attempt to have some sort of lasting impact. I think in the long run it will be seen as one of Cameron Diaz' better comedies. Though it's mostly a one-joke routine, I was constantly amused by Bad Teacher, which examines what happens when a woman with no real ethical life is put into a politically correct, educational environment, namely middle school. The film is loaded with middle school cliches, mainly from the teaching staff, yet it has fun contrasting the familiarity with Diaz' antics, as well as an original turn by Justin Timberlake, a sub who wins the hearts of two rival teachers. In an age when the black comedy is virtually non-existent in the mainstream world, Bad Teacher is refreshingly dark and unsentimental. It doesn't try to change Diaz' character, but rather shows that, unlike the most comedies, people don't always change, that they are who they are. At times we see a more human, sympathetic side to her character, yet compared to a more normal person, her behavior is still despicable. And in the end it makes for a really sold comedy that's funny, entertaining, and pretty original, too.

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