It’s been more than a month since “Bridesmaids” slayed us at the cinema. We’re desperately in need of some hard-R laughs, a few gross-out moments that make us cringe, and the reminder that as crazy as we might be, we’re not nearly as loco as the folks we’re watching onscreen.
Thus, we say thanks to “Bad Teacher” as it floats, on a comedic cloud of profanity and penis jokes, into theaters. Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth Halsey, an educator less concerned with math lessons than she is in smoking pot and calculating her way into marriage with any filthy-rich doofus. She meets the perfect mark in Justin Timberlake’s Scott Delacorte, a substitute teacher and a guy so freaking nice there’s got be something wrong with him. And then we have Jason Segel’s sly gym teacher; even though he’s got the hots for Halsey, his paycheck doesn’t have nearly enough digits to entice the leggy blonde.
But all this is just the setup. The punch comes in a series of outlandish events that, if we were to reveal them here, would just spoil the fun. What we can do is tell you everything you need to know about “Bad Teacher” before hitting the multiplex this weekend. That’s where our cheat sheet comes into play.
Getting Ready for Class
News of the film, penned by “Office” scribes Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, broke in December of 2009. Diaz had signed on, but the rest of the cast had yet to be filled out. That changed a few months later, when Timberlake and Segel hopped aboard. Though Diaz had formerly dated JT, the actress had no qualms about stepping in front of the camera with him.
“He’s the best person for the job. He’s going to be hilarious,” she said. “He’s clearly a very talented comedian; look at his ‘Saturday Night Live’ [skits]. He’s fantastic. He’s going to be so great.”
School’s in Session
Filming kicked off in March. Nearly a year later, a truly filthy red-band trailer popped up online, giving us a very clear idea of how truly terrible a teacher Diaz would be: “Are you f—ing kidding me?” she writes on a student’s test.
While the comedy’s raunchiness was no surprise, Timberlake’s weirdo of a sub certainly was. As Diaz later explained to us , “He gives us a character that you have not seen yet before — not just him, but pretty much anyone. It’s just a very interesting character and a lot of fun to watch. By the end of it, you’re like, ‘What is up with that dude?’ It’s hilarious.”
The Final Exam
As part of our Summer Movie Preview Week, we debuted an exclusive photo of Diaz getting ready for a fundraising car wash unlike any that you might recall from your school days and also sat down for a chat with the woman herself.
“She’s miserable. She’s not happy with her world, and she doesn’t pretend that she is,” Diaz said of her character. “Her pain is real. She’s living a very painful existence, so there’s no humor to her in this.”
Sure, she’s a woman in pain. But there’s also something liberating about the way she just doesn’t give a hoot about anything. “I think that’s why people love Elizabeth,” Diaz told us at the film’s premiere in New York City. “It’s because everyone wants to be her, even for an hour, maybe a day. If you get away with a week — oh my gosh! I got to play her for six weeks. So yeah, it was a lot of fun.”
“The first 30 pages, I’m like, ‘I am not playing this. There is no way I can play this character. There [are] no redeeming qualities to this character,’ ” she recalled of the script in an earlier chat. “And by the end of it, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is genius! There’s no redeeming qualities to this character!’ We got to the end of the script, and we’re not apologizing for anything she said. It’s a very modest arc.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Bad Teacher.”
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