Monday, February 13, 2012

One Minute Review - Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher is yet another example of Hollywood's fear of making adult movies for adult audiences. So what we have here is a sitcom, laced with f-bombs and other naughty expletives, cast with stars instead of actors to appeal to the widest market, which ultimately means the lowest common denominator. But the film doesn't work. It takes what should have been a very direct subject and tries to make it acceptable to as large an audience as possible, which also means, unfortunately, it isn't very funny.

The biggest fault is that, it's main character played by Cameron Diaz, isn't a good teacher to be sure, but she also isn't really all that bad either. But of course she isn't or Cameron Diaz wouldn't have been cast. Movies about unlikable people generally don't work as mainstream comedy. Look at Bad Santa, a film both as quirky as it is brutally and apologetically pitch black. That film revolved around a performance by an actor who wasn't afraid to play one mean SOB and it didn't try to appeal to anyone else. And so there's the problem: Bad Teacher is so focused on the "concept" that Diaz is playing a bad person that it fails to get personal with her badness and really expand it into a real character. As an idea, Bad Teacher potentially works. As a finished film it never seems to have gotten beyond the idea stage.

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