Bad Teacher is obviously about Cameron Diaz playing a teacher, in this case by the name of Elizabeth Halsey, but at the start of the film, she’s actually leaving John Adams Middle School, known as JAMS, after merely a year, as she’s due to get married. Unfortunately for her, her wealthy fiancee has realised what a gold digger she is and promptly dumps her, adding that she has to move out, leaving her no alternative but to return to work at the school she clearly hates.
Back in the thick of it and Liz is asked out by partially overweight P.E. teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel, bottom picture) who, in turn, promptly turns him down because she’s far too superficial and knows how to suck up to the fit and influential men in the school. As such, she also tries to chat up the new substitute teacher, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), who’s clearly a nerd, but for some reason women find him attractive. Still, there’s no accounting for taste. The key cast members are rounded out with British actress Lucy Punch (middle picture) going from blonde to redhead and putting on an effervescent performance as the overly cheerful Amy Squirrel, who’s also very annoying in Liz’s eyes.
When it comes to the title of the movie, Elizabeth Halsey is a bad teacher because she drinks, she smokes (anything) and shows zero interest in her pupils, especially by the fact she doesn’t even try to teach them properly, as shown by the fact she plays movies to them on a daily basis, not only from day one of the school year, but also including inappropriate ones like Scream – and all while nursing a hangover.
Of course, being a teacher won’t make you rich, and she has only one ambition in life and that’s to get a fake pair of breasts. Hence, 20 minutes into the film, she takes charge of the seventh grade charity car wash and makes a lot of much-needed money on the side by dressing provactively and writhing around on the cars, all to Whitesnake’s Still of the Night, which it’s stated in the extras was also played on-set to help her get into the scene.
There’s some snappy dialogue in this film, such as when the token overweight teacher, Phyllis Smith (Lynn Davies) sees Scott coming into the cafeteria and says: “I love how his eyes sparkle when he smiles.”, while Liz adds: “I just wanna sit on his face.”.
Of course you know that Liz will end up falling for Russell because, despite him not being attractive or rich, she finds a common bond with him and that’s where they click. The two actors also have good chemistry between them although this isn’t demonstrated as often as it could be.
Overall, Bad Teacher will never win any major awards, but it does make for a worthy 90 minutes or so of entertainment and this is definitely worth a rental at least.
Presented in the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the quality of the print is fine but doesn’t feel as well-defined as a Blu-ray should. It looks a bit more sharp than a good DVD, but that’s about it.
Audio-wise, the film is presented in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, but doesn’t get any kind of a workout as the soundtrack is just used for dialogue and ambience.
The extras are as follows:
- JAMS Yearbook (approx 12 mins): For seven teachers, four pupils and the principal, this extra gives you about one minute apiece for all of them, showing many of their best clips, sometimes as behind-the-scenes style footage rather than culled straight from the film, so that makes for a next little extra.
- Gag Reel (4:58): All of the cast corpse while trying to film many scenes.
- Outtakes (3:53): Four scenes here, with a lot of corpsing.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (5:44): Six of them here, and all clearly very short given that this segment runs for just a bit longer than the same number of minutes. I’d put back in “Dr. Vogel discusses breast enhancement”, “boner patrol” and “Elizabeth comforts student”. The rest either don’t need to go back in, or cover ground that’s already dealt with enough in the theatrical version.
- Way beyond the scenes with Jason and Justin (5:38): Mr Segel and Mr Timberlake jokingly pretend to have a game of one-upmanship. Quite an amusing extra.
- Raising more than funds (3:31): A featurette about the charity car wash and Camerona Diaz’s skimpy outfit.
- A very odd blacksmith story (2:08): A small featurette about the blacksmiths in the film, although I didn’t even realise that’s what the actor playing the blacksmith was. Just seemed like another location as no mention was made to it being a blacksmiths at the time.
- Swimming with the dolphins (3:35): The principal is obsessed with dolphins.
- Good teacher (4:04): Chat from the main characters and crew about what makes a good teacher, ironically mixed with clips of proving why Cameron was a bad one.
- BD Live: Connect your Blu-ray player to the internet and it sounds like you’ll be able to get info the IMDB page for this film. I’ve never got my player to go online properly before, so I’ll just visit IMDB anyway.
- Play the film with Movie IQ: Another BD Live feature. This is online info for people who don’t have a computer in the same room while watching the film and a desperate need to answer a query right there and then.
- Play the film with ‘added footage’ marker: You’re getting the extended “School’s Out” version of this film here, so this will tell you exactly what’s been added in those additional 2-3 minutes. The box claims this is the “rude version”, but there’s nothing particularly rude about what’s been added, it’s just mostly inconsequential lines of dialogue. Still, that’s marketing for you…
In some cases, the marker also appears when stronger language is used compared to what was left in the theatrical cut, but in the UK this rates a 15-certificate in both cases, so if we had the regular version there wouldn’t be a great deal of difference.
- Audio descriptive track: The film with added vocal descriptions for those who have poor or no vision.
The menu features clips of the film set against the movie’s theme. There are subtitles in English and 8 other languages. The number of chapters is just 16 which is okayish, but based on using one every five minutes, it would’ve been better to have at least 20.
The cover art is a bit lame, however. Just Diaz, Timberlake and Segel. As opposed to the oft-seen artwork of Cameron Diaz almost asleep at her desk, legs up on her desk. Presuming they are her legs. They probably are, but we all remember the fake cover for Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts’ head was her own, but the entireity of her body, below Richard Gere’s tie, belonged to a model.
Running time: 98 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cat no: SBR80022
Released: October 31st 2011
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio (Catalan is DD5.1 only)
Languages: English, German, Spanish, Catalan
Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, Turkish
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jake Kasdan
Producer: Jimmy Miller
Screenplay: Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg
Music: Michael Andrews
Elizabeth Halsey: Cameron Diaz
Amy Squirrel: Lucy Punch
Russell Gettis: Jason Segel
Scott Delacorte: Justin Timberlake
Lynn Davies: Phyllis Smith
Principal Wally Snur: John Michael Higgins
Sandy Pinkus: Dave ‘Gruber’ Allen
Sasha Abernathy: Kaitlyn Dever
Chase Rubin-Rossi: Kathryn Newton
Arkady: Igal Ben Yair
Spencer/Twilight: Finneas O’Connell
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.