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July 11, 2011 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-07-11

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Monday, July 11, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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6

TIr _

OF
____ .

Failing grade for
'Bad Teacher'

By ANKUR SOHONI
Daily Arts Writer
When you make a "bad" movie,
you better damn well make it good.
Look at "Super-
bad" - once the
easiest potential
target of clev- Bad Teacher
erly disparaging
newspaper head- At Quality16
lines ("'Super- and Rave
bad' is super bad,
folks"), and think Columbia
of the discus-
sions that likely went on between
filmmakers and studio execs before
titling the film. "Superbad" turned
out to be great, and it had to be in
order to avoid otherwise inevitable
embarrassment.
The people over at Sony and
Columbia should be kicking them-
selves for titling Cameron Diaz's
latest starrer "Bad Teacher," as in
poetic fashion, itseems fromincep-
tion to have been nothing but bad,
bad, bad.
Directed by Jake Kasdan ("Walk
Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"),
Detroit native and son of 'U' alum
Lawrence Kasdan, the film follows
middle school teacher Elizabeth
Halsey (Diaz, "Knight and Day")
whose primary goal in life - aside
from seemingly belittling her stu-
dents and alienating literally every
single person she meets - isto find
a super-rich guy with whom to set-
tle down.
To that end, she courts straight-
laced and baby-faced substi-
tute teacher Scott Delacorte
(Justin Timberlake, "The Social
Network"), coincidentally full of

money from his family's watch-
brand empire. Working against
her is wacky teacher Amy Squir-
rel (Lucy Punch, "Take Me Home
Tonight"), who quickly starts to
win over the heir due to - at least
in Halsey's limited comprehension
- her must more sizable breasts.
So Halsey finds the answer and
we find our protagonist's concoct-
ed narrative drive: She must get an
inconveniently expensive breast
augmentation, for which she must
now raise money.
Not as super
as 'Superbad.'
While "Bad Teacher" has a
pointless and dully handled prem-
ise, its greatest failure is its inabil-
ity to make its characters, and
especially its protagonist, worth
rooting for. Keeping a movie audi-
ence engaged is a matter of keeping
them sympathetic with the charac-
ters'goals, and the unlikeable char-
acters of "Bad Teacher" do little to 0
inspire sympathy or caring.
Cameron Diaz has more talent
than she gets credit for, but when
she accepts roles like the lead in
"Bad Teacher," it's understandable
why people don't quite remem-
ber. Her character is so unpleas- 0
ant a person that the film quickly
becomes boring, and the surround-
ing cast is so one-sided that there is
little to take stake in. That we are
meant to, by the end of the movie,
See FAILING, Page 9

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