5/14/11

'''''''Bad Teacher (2011) RevieW @@@@


I’m not sure how many more movies can be carried on the trope of infantile adults, though Bad Teacher is going to try its damnedest, primarily by having its main character Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) respond to criticism with a pubescent teenager’s “Oooooh,” perhaps leaving out the “I’m so scared,” but this is a bet I would advise against taking. So, for the sake of positivity, let’s also overlook the obnoxiously punny tagline that “She doesn’t give an ‘F’,” though it’s also contradictory in its attempt at humor in that Halsey is shown grading papers with obloquy rather than feedback.
While we’re at it, we can also overlook the fact that writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, despite having a hand in a few episodes of The Office, also penned Year One, which utilized Michael Cera’s frantic personality, but was a lesser version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.


In cookie cutter fashion, Bad Teacher offers Halsey’s yang in the form of Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), whose chittering name bespeaks her role as a well-loved, favorite teacher of the students. It also bespeaks the nature of balance, in part , encouraging Halsey to reform – not herself – but her teaching style in order to win the obligatory carrot given to “whichever teacher has the highest score” on the Illinois state exam and denounce Punch’s opinion that “I can’t think of anyone less suited to be a teacher.”

Despite the obvious hangups that this film exposes through both the trailer and the primary movie poster, there is still positivity, and it can be found in an examination of the subtext surrounding teachers and teacher unions, of which Halsey must be part of if she is able to verbally berate and criticize her students in a less than constructive manner with impunity. If, perchance, there is no commentary being made on the inherent dangers of unions, then perhaps Bad Teacher is commenting on the inefficiency of educational administration as it lets students slip through cracks and employs teachers who are more focused on weekends and summer vacations than teaching, which is aptly suggested when Hasley suggests she’s “not going to go to [the first day of school],” despite the mandate that she be present, to which she delivers the “ooooh,” alluding to the fact that her job is secure and administration would have a bureaucratic nightmare filled with miles of red tape if they wanted to fire her.


At the same time, Hasley’s prime motivator – money – should also be considered here in that it reflects the grievances that teachers have for their lack of compensation and thus, whether through malice or by default, a rising lack of indifference toward a curriculum that houses teachers, who “are themselves products of the same compulsory school programs that so thoroughly bore their students, and as school personnel they are trapped inside structures even more rigid than those imposed up on the children,” as suggested by John Taylor Gatto in his essay “Against School” that appeared in Harper’s magazine in 2003.


So, perhaps Bad Teacher is tackling the ubiquitous ennui felt by both the teachers and the students. The question is whether or not they will offer a solution to this epidemic, or if the film will devolve to predictable innuendo like when Russell Gettis (Jason Segel), proffering a bag of soccer balls asks Hasley to “hold [his] ball sack.”

Whether Bad Teacher delivers actually seems negligible in that the safe bet is that it won’t. Besides, sometimes the beauty of conjecture is offering insight on what could and should be said, not necessarily what is.



Release Date: June 24, 2011
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Jake Kasdan
Screenwriter: Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins, Jason Segel
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R (for sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use)
Official Website: AreYouaBadTeacher.com

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