Directed by Jake Kasdan; written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg;
Released by Columbia Pictures.
Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes.
Featuring: Cameron Diaz (Elizabeth Halsey), Justin Timberlake (Scott Delacorte), Lucy Punch (Amy Squirrel), John Michael Higgins (Principal Wally Snur), Jason Segel (Russell Gettis), Phyllis Smith (Lynn Davies), Thomas Lennon (Carl Halabi), Molly Shannon (Melody), Eric Stonestreet (Kirk), Dave (Gruber) Allen (Sandy Pinkus), Matthew J. Evans (Garrett Tiara) and Kaitlyn Dever (Sasha Abernathy).
Disclaimer: Before we dive into this review, we have to admit we are “Pro Teacher”. Having been exposed to the Educational field on a number of different occasions and in a number of different ways we are “Pro Education”.
As a journalist, I can sympathize with long hours, low pay, high stress and little appreciation. However, much like politcans are the source of the nations problems–parents or lack of parenting are the source of our educational and social problems. If educators were permitted to spend more time teaching then training, our American educational system would score in the top 3.
So many films feature an educator with the “heart of gold” entering the inner city or some socially depraved environment to teach and bring out the highest quality in young people. Well, this movie is the opposite of that.
Written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, and directed by Jake Kasdan, the movie is as dumb as a film can get. The moral of this film is lie, cheat, steal, destroy and sleep your way towards what you want and in the end it will all work out and forget about destroying the life of another human being. O yea, and lets not forget that since teachers pay sucks–all teachers should do the bare minimum to get a pay check.
Meet Elizabeth, it’s the last day of class and she’s out of this crap hole called school forever, she peels out in a sports car that takes her right back home to the meal ticket she calls her fiancé. But before she can cash that ticket he’s gone, leaving her stranded and forced back into teaching, a profession for which she’s so constitutionally unsuited it borders on the criminal. It is here at, JAMS Elizabeth starts to learns an unexpected lesson when pursing a breast enlargement to impress her new meal ticket the substitute teacher Scott Delacorte the heir to a fortune.
However, the movie Bad Teacher, if anything left me with the feeling that if we remove the incentive for teachers to push their students, then we need to eliminate the teaching profession all together. Keep in mind, I am not in favor of syncing a teachers effectiveness with the performance of the little hedonistic-ingrates that frequent the teachers classroom. I am in favor of more teacher bonuses based on the teachers ability to actually teach and not administering state mandated tests– to pimply faced kids, that, depending on the orbital direction of the sun may or may not do well.
Lets first take on the issue presented in Bad Teacher that teachers pay is low. I think its absolutely ridiculously for everyone and their cousin to feel entitled to a 10-figure salary plus benefits for every profession. I am sorry but teachers pay is not a secret- just ask a teacher. If you want to know what teachings like, call your local public school and ask to sit in the classroom for a week or two, to just observe- you will see what it is like. Most teachers, want to give this “bleeding heart story” of how they are trying to survive in teaching when the simple solution is, QUIT and go work as a nuclear engineer or something that guarantees your 10-figures. Once the system sees less and less people graduating to be an educator they will then pass legislation restoring the power back to the educators and not the administration.
Next, Teachers Jobs Suck- we can’t completely argue against this because teachers have a lot to deal with when entering the classroom. The problem ultimately rests in the hands of the parents who refuse to raise/train their terrible children. You may think we are being mean, but take a teacher out to lunch- she will tell you the truth about these future lawyers, congressman and women, doctors, engineers etc. Nowadays, teachers almost have to “pack heat” to retain control of their classroom because these kids know their is little the educator can do to stop them from being disruptive to the other good students.
Lastly, Teacher are Pressured by Standardized Tests. I know this first hand, I can remember I had a fantastic History Teacher in the 8th grade. He was excellent, but when the class took the standardized test, many failed– but that is life. We don’t throw out the driving test because a select group of people can’t pass it. We need to measure performance, or at least appear to measure performance. Yes, we will admit, put simply, some children are just stupid. Giving Teachers bonuses for having his or her students perform well on tests is just one drop, we need to allow educators to receive direct deposit “bonuses” from parents to foster a “I appreciate what you have done, now here are the funds to prove it.”
Although, Bad Teacher was supposed to be funny. I thought it did not directly address some of the issues I am highlighting but it hinted at them throughout the film. I thought, if anything, the film brought up some good points on how teachers should take a stand in their classrooms.
However, taking a stand for us does NOT include smoking pot in your car, bouncing a ball off the heads of students who don’t answer your questions correctly, coming to work wasted, giving a student your bra or possibly keeping airline-size bottles of hooch tucked in your classroom desk. Much like the rest of the audience, I was waiting to see if she would sleep with a student to really sell us on this badass teacher persona.
The film would have been great if it didn’t try so hard to be so raunchy. The problem was, the writers tried to give us this Bad Teacher teaching these semi-angels. It would have been better to make the students more edgier or simply more realistic.
In the same breath, we feel as though it still may be a good idea to talk to children (in my opinion) like adults before Sim Cowell does it in front of millions. So, there is no point in sugar coating the truth because many of these little adults are no longer children; with 10-year olds killing their pregnant parent, or the 12-year old being a hired hit man or the 11-year old soliciting sex from older man– its time we all face the music that many of these young people sitting before you stopped be a child 14-months after birth. Now they are little hardened adults that probably have more of an active sex life than you and they may probably be waiting for you by your car to put a bullet between your eyes because they simply “don’t like you”.
After watching this film, I have to say I think the lesser of both Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. Bad Teacher is an unfunny, nasty, crude 80 minute pile of waste. It tried to do what the largely successful Bridesmaids film did, in that it offered a hilariously crude female comedy that appeals to both male and female. The only problem is, Diaz did not have the supporting cast and the proverbial “fat chick”. Phyllis, from the The Office hardly meets the “fat chick” requirement. Watch the film, the film did have it moments were I chuckled but if you enjoy watching the aging Cameron Diaz guzzling booze, swearing at children and “skanking” then this is the film for you.
“Bad Teacher” is rated R. (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.) Very bad teacher.