Review: Bad Teacher Blu-ray

Bad Teacher Blu-ray/DVD boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Jake Kasdan | CAST: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, Lucy Punch
RELEASE DATE: 10/18/2011 | PRICE: DVD $30.989, Blu-ray $35.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $45.99
BONUSES: gag reel, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes
SPECS: R/Unrated | 92/97 min. | Comedy | 1.85:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Cameron Diaz has proven herself with comedy — There’s Something About Mary, Charlie’s Angels — but with Bad Teacher, she’s fighting a losing battle.

Unlike in her earlier movies, Diaz plays against her sweet girl type to be the titular bad teacher. She performs enthusiastically, but she’s held back by a one-joke script.

Bad TeacherBad Teacher takes the premise of 2003’s Bad Santa to school. Instead of a department store Santa doing bad things, it’s the teacher. Diaz’s Elizabeth Halsey became a teacher for the shorter hours and summers off, but her goal in life is to snag a rich man and quit. She sets her sights on new temp Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake, Friends With Benefits) but quickly finds competition in goodie Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch, Dinner for Schmucks). Meanwhile, not so well-off gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel, Gulliver’s Travels) is using his best lines to get into Diaz’s pants.

The performers are uniformly fine, especially Punch, whose quirky, off-kilter squirrel is hilarious. And fans of TV’s The Office and Modern Family will enjoy seeing Phyllis Smith and Eric Stonestreet in fun smaller roles.

But, apart from a few funny moments in the film, the jokes are over-the-top and try too hard to be funny.

The featurettes on the disc suffer from the same problem. In “Way Behind the Scenes With Jason and Justin,” the two actors spend a few minutes insulting each other. Maybe it’s a “you had to be there” kind of thing. In “Swimming With the Dolphins,” John Michael Higgins, who plays the school’s principal, tells us he finds a lot of inspiration in dolphins. Okay. And there’s even a piece with Lee Eisenberg about the importance of his role as the blacksmith. Right.

The only genuinely funny parts are the gag reel and outtakes, which show the cast cracking up. Judging by these, it took a lot of time to get the shots they needed for the movie, and the cast had a great time doing it.

The disc also has a handful of deleted scenes, which are amusing but don’t add anything to the story. And there are two other featurettes, “Raising More Than Funds” about the sexy car wash scene and “Good Teacher” in which the stars tell us what they think a good teacher should be like (surprise, surprise, pretty much the opposite of Diaz’s bad teacher.)

Oh, and the movie looks and sounds great in Blu-ray’s high-definition, but who cares? It doesn’t make the film any better.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.