x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, is an uninspiring waste of time.

Tom Lennon, left, and Cameron Diaz star in Bad Teacher.
Tom Lennon, left, and Cameron Diaz star in Bad Teacher.

Bad Teacher
Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Lucy Punch, Jason Segel

The plot of Bad Teacher is so uninspired I fear I'll bore myself into a coma just typing the words and may never get to finish this review. But I'm obliged to at least communicate some basics to you, so I'll try.

Diaz is a dissipated schoolteacher with no regard whatsoever for her job. She's waiting to marry her rich fiance and retire forever, but he leaves her, so she's stuck at school and instead sets her sights on a wealthy but dopey substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake), possibly the most unconvincing character in the history of cinema. Meanwhile, Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) plays a nice gym teacher for no good reason, other than the fact that the filmmakers somehow expect us to want him and Diaz to hook up. But of course we don't care, because there's no reason we should. Segel's the only one who's actually a believable human being here, the only one who puts in a two dimensional performance, with such contrasting effect it seems like he's walked on to the wrong film set, written his own dialogue and directed himself. This is all something of a shame, considering it's directed by Kasdan, who worked on Judd Apatow's great Freaks & Geeks TV series, and last directed Apatow's brilliant music biopic comedy Walk Hard. So what happened? Why did such an unfunny script get greenlit? Why did the actors sign up? How do I excise all evidence of it from my memory? So many questions.