'Bad Teacher': How to fix it
Our advice for director Jake Kasdan
1. Bad ain’t bad, but you gotta be worse
As part of the post-Hangover hangover of studio comedies reaching for raunch, Bad Teacher promised to be full of good ol’ bad taste. But where is it? If you’re going to promise something outré (and the title alone sure does), then you must deliver. Aim for the hilarious cynicism of Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa, or even the kids-behaving-badly tone of the original Bad News Bears. We don’t need another ho-hum rom-com, which is what this flick eventually becomes. And up the ante a little: The gals from Bridesmaids are laughing at your dry-humping gag, not with it.
2. Recast Justin Timberlake’s role
At this stage of his acting career, the pop superstar excels at bringing the funny (see: SNL) and the smarmy (see: The Social Network), but he’s just not a believable nerd. Find someone else to play the milquetoast substitute teacher Diaz has her gold-digging eye on. Or at the very least, let Timberlake rock his ridiculous *NSYNC hairstyle. That’d help.
3. Give the kids some (in)decent jokes
Mr. Kasdan, please take a cue from the riotous tykes in The School of Rock. Go on, let kids say the darndest things! Everything’s funnier coming from the mouths of babes, especially when they’re four-letter words.
4. You paid Jason Segel, now use him!
The lovable, hangdog actor plays the film’s one winsome character, a gym teacher with a crush on Diaz. Yet he pops in only sporadically to spread some nice-guy vibes, then disappears until it’s time for everyone to learn an important life lesson. Increase Segel’s screen time and let him flex his comedic chops instead of confining him to being merely…present.
5. Kill the sexy car wash
Is there anything more clichéd? Diaz and her Daisy Dukes turn the school fund-raiser into an impromptu turn-on-athon. Snore. Why not have her spearhead a sexy bake sale instead? We’d never look at Rice Krispies Treats the same way again.