When is the last time Cameron Diaz made a good movie? Think about it. In the last ten years, you could make the argument that the only two good movies she's made are Being John Malkovich and Gangs of New York. Neither of those films were good because she was in it, by the way. And yet, she continues to be a successful actress. I don't get it either. Her latest crack at making something watchable is Bad Teacher.
Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, who is a... all together now... bad teacher. Going into this film, I wasn't expecting much. The previews had some humorous moments but there nothing about them that said, "Yes, I have to see this movie opening weekend." Truthfully, Diaz was pretty convincing as a woman who should do anything except mold young minds. Her performance shows that she had fun doing something on screen that she rarely does: be funny. She has the ability but only occasionally shows it off.
The supporting cast was also impressive. Jason Segel, Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins, Thomas Lennon, Eric Stonestreet and Phyllis Smith (just to name a few) all play their characters perfectly. Segel gives some realism to the stereotypical role of the guy who wants the girl and Timberlake showed no signs of inhibition as a guy who is overly sensitive and is into some weird stuff (I can't really go into more detail on that one). Smith (better known as Phyllis from The Office) plays pretty much the same character here but watching her react to the things that Elizabeth says were some of the funnier parts in the movie. Punch especially makes a name for herself as up until this movie, she's mainly played minor characters. She steals the show in many of the scenes she's in.
And that's partly what made Bad Teacher as good as it is. The back and forth between Punch's character and Elizabeth blurs the line between protagonist and antagonist. They're both pretty unlikable and both do some underhanded and devious things in this movie and yet you'll find yourself rooting for one or the other. The movie as a whole was funny but not hilarious. There were many moments in the movie that could have been funnier or played for more laughs but overall it was fairly decent. I recommend waiting until DVD but if you would like to see it theaters, check it out at the Cinemagic in Hooksett or Merrimack.