ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movies I Can't Help But Love -- BAD TEACHER

Updated on September 21, 2012

Ahhhhh, Bad Teacher.

Bad Teacher is not a great film, but it's got far too much good stuff in it to deny.

It's an absolute triumph in many ways, but very few critics understood it because they were never employees in a middle school. People, healthy people, unlike me, find few things more appalling then teachers being ridiculed for caring about their profession. But if you know that the same team behind this was the group that made Judd Apatow a star with the surprisingly deep and fascinating "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared", it's telling.

Jake Kasden is the director. He did a few light comedies of intrinsic value since directing several episodes of both Geeks and Undeclared...such as Orange County, Jack Black's greatest moment, playing me when I was about 22.

Jason Segel, who played Nick Andapolis on Freaks and Geeks and Lizzy's insanely jealous boyfriend on Undeclared, as well as finally getting a consistent paying gig on CBS's "How I Met Your Mother", is the only character in this whole film who is handled in a halfway flattering way.

Cameron Diaz's Elizabeth Halsey (nice Paul McCartney "Ram" reference there guys, I got it) gives Billy Bob Thornton's Bad Santa a run for his money. Observe the brief moment when Halsey says, with an extreme close-up to a rival teacher, "I don't know what you heard...but I don't eat muff pie". She even sounded like Billy Bob Thornton.

John Michael Higgins, who was the second best thing in the sequel to the restaurant movie "Waiting" that Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris and Dane Cook ditched, is just as good as a gullible, corny principal obsessed with dolphins. Making a cameo in this is the FIRST best part of that Waiting sequel...the girl who plays Naomi, but all she does is take money from Halsey at the boob job clinic. (Diaz is only working in order to get some fake boobs to land a new sugar daddy). Naomi in both Waiting films was stellar...yet when the Bad Teacher screenplay is at it's best, is when it's involving Higgins.


Diaz walks into his office on a mission to manipulate him, so she immediately starts taking a liking to some of his dolphin stuff.

DIAZ: Is this new? I love it! You know...I always said that...dolphins are the humans of the sea.

HIGGINS (amazed): I have a bumper sticker that says that!

DIAZ: Come on.

HIGGINS: I'm not kidding! It's on my car!


Phillis Smith from where I don't know...maybe "The Office"? You'll love her.

Justin Timberlake...delightfully wimpy as a new substitute teacher who Diaz's Halsey tries to get with because she notices his wrist-watch (an expensive one), and discovers that he's the freaking heir to the company that makes them.

But none compare to the very quintessential reason you have to rent this thing --

Lucy Punch.

In Dinner for Schmucks, she was that crazy blond who was stalking Paul Rudd, who lost him for a while, but was reunited thanks to a thoroughly clueless Steve Carrell before she messes up his car. There was also this Woody Allen movie I saw where she really looked good, playing a young lady he has an affair with. But here...she has been robbed of an Oscar. This absolute thespian is the female equivalent of Gary Oldman. She will no doubt one day eclipse Meryl Streep and that's freaking saying something.

Lucy Punch plays Amy Squirrell (yup), a teacher who is the very reason I've had to be transferred to four different f*cking schools during my time with steady employment. There's always somebody like this bitch in a grade school, and every once in a while, they have a nervous breakdown and thus go from being stupid to being downright homicidal. Nervous breakdowns are nothing to make fun of...unless you're a teacher aide who relates better to Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared then...Sarah Palin. Then you realize that many teachers are the disease and nervous breakdowns are the cure. Because of the Lucy Punch performance, the DVD is actually purchase-worthy.

In the film, Diaz has one simple goal...marry a rich man and quit teaching.

In the beginning, she has one and she's engaged to him. As soon as Diaz returns to her sugar daddy's house about three minutes into the takes off and only comes down every once in a while. This scene where Diaz first learns that the engagement is kick ass.

Both her man and Timberlake, rich as hell from dowries and family money, are each portrayed as insufferable wimpy corny dorks. Both of them. This clearly speaks to teacher assistants who know that the fine teacher down the hall just might be off-limits considering she knows you make a third of what she does.

Freaks and Geeks, like Bad Teacher, instead of the teacher assistant...really really look down on gym teachers, notorious as they are for exposing the uncoordinated in front of all their peers in an environment that they can't just avoid. It's like a bully that's actually state-sanctioned to guys like this. And so they tear the crap out of them.

That gym teacher in "Bad Teacher" is Jason Siegel. He won't ever stop pursuing Diaz, and he wins her over step by gradual step until the point where Diaz simply couldn't care less.Critics say it's not believable how it plays out. F*ck em. It's Freaks and Geeks believable, and that was pretty f*cking believable.

In the film and having more things to do then alot of the characters is Dave Gruber Allen who all us Freaks and Geeks fans remember as Mr. Rosso, the hippy guidance counselor. It's a very skillful addition, because the screenplay has Allen make semi-confusing jokes that John Michael Higgins, equally awkward, laughs at without knowing what the hell he just said.

There are a few songs we hear throughout the film, from the swell theme song, to two semi-decent ones composed by the teacher band (including Timberlake's addition which is pure schmaltz). The best one though was during a Paul-Thomas-Anderson-type sequence highlighted by a song on internet radio.

There is never a moment when either Timberlake or Punch say or do anything that doesn't make you laugh or cringe, and when they get together as a couple for a

PUNCH: It's so crazy because I love raisins and he hates raisins...

TIMBERLAKE: Ying and yang.

Freaking uggggggggggggggggggggggggh...

Critics also claim that the kids in the film were underused and underdeveloped. That's ANOTHER thing they got wrong. The ones who have character traits necessary for the story are just fine. And besides...this film is called Bad Teacher, not Bad Student. You want to make a thoroughly deplorable have to make her infinitely more deplorable then the kids. You have to make the kids seem quiet, polite, innocent and normal. Even the bullies.

Halsey has it in for the girl at the front of the room, Sasha Abernathy, and some of the best lines in the film that Halsey delivers to anyone are delivered to Sasha. Sasha is a goody-two-shoes, a kiss-ass, a grade-grubber, and wants to be president. Meanwhile the other kid Halsey interacts with...who she actually does WONDERS for and saves at the an ultra-sensitive poetic porker who wears the same clothes EVERY SINGLE DAY.

In one deleted scene, Halsey encounters a girl crying in the hall. She's crying about her boyfriend but she won't say anymore, and wants you all to leave her alone. It's then that Halsey, in full Billy Bob Thornton mode, says "You know...if you don't want to suck a dick, you don't have to suck a dick." And this completely wipes away the tears and causes a big big smile on this girl's face.

See? It's that kind of stuff that Bad Teacher slowly starts to have going for it. The filmmakers spend the first hour and a half making the case that Halsey is sick to the core...then they show how the school system lets kids down for favoring educators like Amy Squirrell (who by the way never learned nor figured out what "muff pie" was).

Rent the damn movie already. Get it from netflix. Or at least watch Lucy Punch's highlights on youtube.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tijuana, Mexico

      I have a terribly pathetic soft spot for pretty much anything related to Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. I wish they'd stop making movies and just go back to the basics. I trace these to way back during the bitter time when the F&G creators first realized they were going to get cancelled in 2000. From that point on, though quality does appear in spades, they've been tumbling pretty hard. 40 Year Old Virgin for instance = decent and complete shit compared to what they already proved they could do.

    • tschaunerb profile image


      8 years ago from Medicine Hat

      I dunno, I liked Freaks and Geeks and Undelcared, but this movie irritated me. I don't like Cameron Diaz tho so maybe that was my first major problem with it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)