Genre: Comedy

Director: Jake Kasdan

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake

**

Bad Teacher instructs us that Cameron Diaz needs to return to comedy school: being pitiful isn’t the same as being funny.

She plays Elizabeth, a seventh-grade English teacher at a suburban Illinois middle school. She’s a free-spending floozy with a substance-abuse problem, untreated chronic depression and a near-sociopathic disregard for the needs and feelings of others, especially her students and fellow teachers.

Lack of suitability for her job doesn’t matter much to Elizabeth; she plans to ditch it anyway, and marry her rich fiancé (Nat Faxon).

 

Writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (vets of TV’s The Office) surround Elizabeth with one-dimensional sitcom types: a butt-covering principal (John Michael Higgins), an introvert with esteem issues (Lynn Davies), an extrovert with control issues (a game Lucy Punch) and a naïve supply teacher (Justin Timberlake, a former Diaz beau) who is as dim as a small appliance bulb.

Despite the extra talent, the main comedic course load falls to Diaz, who proves unable to bear the burden under Jake Kasdan’s flat direction.

It’s too bad for Diaz. She badly needed a hit after recent duds like The Green Hornet and Knight and Day.

Extras include deleted scenes, featurettes and unrated version of film (Blu-ray only).

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