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Published on June 14th, 2011 | by Colm O'Brien

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Movie Review: Bad Teacher

As far as I can tell this has nothing to do with Bad Santa. Which is a shame, because not only was Bad Santa a pretty excellent film, but also I like the idea of starting off a franchise — something you could line up against your Date Movies and Epic Movies and Superhero Movies and whatnot. An opposing front. Think about it: Bad Civil Engineer! Bad Tax Underwriter! Bad Prie… weeell, maybe there’s a line. But the principle stands.

(Actually, has there ever been a Movie Movie? I don’t mean to harp on here, but these abominations need to be taken down one way or another, and metahumour’s metakiss of metadeath might be just the way to do it. Like, not just some cheap fourth-wall-breaking effort — really hammer down into the old continental philosophy. Go the distance. Crack out the Deleuze and let fly. I digress, I digress.)

Anyway… Bad Teacher. Bad Teacher is rubbish. I mean, it’s just not good. But it’s the kind of film you pity more than hate — there are a handful of moments where it is funny (most notably a showdown between Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and a deliciously nebbish Thomas Lennon), but most of the time it’s achingly flat and underwritten. If only they had gone through a few more rewrites and tightened it up a bit. If only they had packed in a few more jokes in rather than trying to coast by on tone. If only they had entirely excised Cameron Diaz’s character and plotline and fleshed out the other characters instead.

Yeah, the major problem with Bad Teacher is the bad teacher. I probably flouted some kind of journalistic ethics up there by not giving a précis of the plot, but the fact is that it really, really doesn’t matter (also: it’s the 21st century, Wikipedia’s thataway). What story there is is just an excuse for her bad behaviour, but sadly not for any interesting behaviour. She’s a pissant antihero with pissant ambitions, and none of the real hall-of-famers, your Fran Katzenjammers and Willie Stokeses, would be caught dead hanging out with her.

Bad Teacher is out nationwide on June 17. Assumably Xtravision will still be open then as well, so do yourself a favour and spend a night in with Billy Bob Thornton instead. Alternatively, hold out til next summer, when my magnum opus Bad Systems Administrator hits a screen near you. We doin’ this.

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