Production Year – 2011 | Cert (UK) – PG 15 | Runtime – 92 mins
Director – Jake Kasdan | Cast – Cameron Diaz, Jason Segal, Justin Timberlake
Elizabeth Hasley (Cameron Diaz) is a bad teacher. She drinks, she smokes weed and doesn’t like her students or co-workers. She is also a gold digger looking to marry a rich schmuck so she never has to work again. When she’s dumped by her fiancée, she sets her targets on the new substitute teacher who is rich, cute and Justin Timberlake. This puts her in direct competition with Amy, another neurotic teacher (Lucy Punch) for his affections. At the same time she’s also trying to fend off the advances of the Gym Teacher (Jason Segal).
Cameron Diaz plays her character really well. She does the sarcastic, truly doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone but herself thing to perfection. She is the teacher who is coasting through the school year so she gets the whole summer off to work on her real job – bagging herself a rich husband. She goes to school daily with a raging hangover, in incredibly high louboutins and spends her classes slumped on her desk whilst the students watch movies. I was a bit confused as to why a gold digger would even get a job as a teacher in the first place. They never quite explain how she started as a teacher – did she think she could meet some rich fathers looking for a wife upgrade?
The movie has some very funny bits – mainly the way Elizabeth and Amy interact. Amy is one of those people who is saccharine sweet to your face but is secretly a crazy manipulative bitch behind your back, and Lucy Punch plays it to the hilt. Justin Timberlake as the eye candy is an interesting choice. First of all he looks incredibly young next to the two women fighting over him. He is also weird. He’s meant to add the gross out comedy element (watch out for school field trip – “I’m going to dry hump the shit out of you!”) but it doesn’t quite work. His character is very one dimensional as I couldn’t understand why someone so rich and young would be working as a teacher. If it’s meant to show he has some strong moral fibre, I would expect his character to have a lot more depth and be more interesting, but he just comes across as confused. Whether this is down to the script, the director or Justin as an actor, I don’t know but I’ve seen him come out with better performances (Alpha Dogs). Jason Segal is Jason Segal. He essentially plays the same character all the time – the blokey, funny guy who isn’t the best looking but is self-deprecating and charming enough to make you sleep with him. Some of the best bits for me came from the side characters Lynn (played by Phyllis Smith from the Office) who is such a sweet little push over, Elizabeth’s roommate Kirk (played by Eric Stonestreet – Cameron in Modern Family).
If you manage to suspend your disbelief for a couple of hours, you’ll enjoy this movie. The main characters, their dialogue and their antics are hilarious. It strives to hit the gross out comedy angle but falls just a little short of the mark. I almost think it would have been better without Justin in it. It’s comes out tomorrow in cinemas nationwide.