The best thing about Horrible Bosses were the Horrible Bosses! This was because whoever cast that film made the genius move of casting three actors and making them play against type, doing and saying things you wouldn’t usually associate with that actor. This worked best with Jennifer Aniston because she was usually seen to play “the girl next door” romantic interest type so seeing her acting overly sexual was funny (and sexy!) I even went as far to say that the film suffered from the fact that it didn’t focus enough on the horrible boss characters and relied too heavily on the three leads instead.
Bad Teacher went in the opposite direction. It started off by taking the best part of Horrible Bosses, Jennifer Aniston playing against type, and adding the same formula to Cameron Diaz. This doesn’t mean she plays an overly sexual character but it does take the idea of an actress who wouldn’t usually play an obnoxious, swearing and manipulative character and casting her as the lead in the film that focuses on all those traits.
The second clever move from the makers of this film was taking a profession where having all the characteristics that Cameron Diaz’s character has would be funny and shocking in places – teaching. This meant that when she swore at a kid, got drunk while doing her job or just did anything within teaching badly, it was funny.
The main ingredient that makes this film work is that Cameron Diaz is brilliant as Elizabeth and throws herself into her shocking role. She is brilliantly sweary, fantastic at saying some of the most shocking, sexual things and the way she interacts with the students is funny just because you shouldn’t say it but for some of us, particularly a teacher like myself, would really want to.
Cameron Diaz is also supported by a cast that are just as good in their outlandish roles. Lucy Punch steals each scene she is in as the sickingly positive and enthusiastic Amy Squirrel and it’s great to see Justin Timberlake taking the mick out of himself and some of the scenes he shares with Cameron Diaz are brilliant, especially the dry humping on a school trip. It’s even more impressive when you think they are actually “exes” by this point. Jason Segel has secured himself as a reliable, funny actor that can easily lighten any mood and add some effortless humour. He is the male counterpart to Cameron Diaz and the dodgeball scene in the film is even better because of how he plays it.
In fact the film is full of great scenes and moments. I couldn’t possibly write this review on a blog that prides itself on adding a sexy lady photo with every review without mentioning the car wash scene. It’s a scene used to heavily promote the film that is both really sexy as well as being genuinely very funny.
The only thing that stops this film being fantastic and a comedy triumph is that it runs out of steam as it reaches the third act. Cameron Diaz as the Bad Teacher is funny for the first half of the film but there’s very little she can really do after that. Lucy Punch is great at being enthusiastic and obnoxious but that can only last for so long before losing its appeal too. When the film is forced to start to unpeel Diaz’s obnoxious character for the sake of the story, the film loses its appeal which is a shame because it starts so strongly.
Overall, well worth a watch for Cameron Diaz being rude, crude, obnoxious but very sexy. She’s supported brilliantly by a host of characters as outrageous and extreme as her in different ways but it just over-stretches itself because unfortunately, it has to try to tell some sort of story!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)