Monday 5 December 2016

REVIEW: Bad Teacher ***

Paul Whitington

Published 17/06/2011 | 12:04

After playing second fiddle to Tom Cruise in an eye-rollingly weak damsel-in-distress role in last summer's Knight and Day, it's great to see Cameron Diaz commanding the screen and playing to her often-underrated comedic strengths in this vulgar school-based comedy that initially shows great promise, but ultimately lacks the guile and smarts to earn an A1 result.

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Diaz plays Elizabeth Dalsey, a leggy, gold-digging bad girl who is coasting along in a substitute teacher position until she can find a loaded husband to leach off for the rest of her life. The dope-smoking, hard-drinking, thieving, foul-mouthed Elizabeth specialises in pressing play on a DVD player to keep her students busy, and in crushing their dreams.

In order to expedite her sugar-daddy hunt, Elizabeth sets her heart -- for want of a better word -- on getting a boob job, the funding for which will be hers if she can move her neglected English class up a grade in the state exams. At the same time, she tries to snare a nerdy, from-money new colleague (Justin Timberlake, trying just a little too hard), while fending off the attempts of a suspicious colleague (Lucy Punch) from exposing her as the educational fraud she is.

For the most part, Bad Teacher is an entertaining ride, but it could have done with much more comedic discipline.

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