This tale of a failed golddigger is a good comedies of 2011
Poison never looked so good
For every successful gold digger, there are countless failures. Some continue until their youth fades and they go from gold to silver to bronze to rust, but some manage to turn their lives around and find something else to dedicate it to. Elizabeth Halsey, played by Cameron Diaz, is a gorgeous golddigger who’s dream marriage to her rich fiancee gets thrown off the tracks by his astute mother who understands that Elizabeth’s love is not for her son but for his money. She is a schemer, an actress, and a mostly unlikeable character who I had trouble rooting for. And yet there is something so compelling and transfixing about remorselessness and competence, of a woman who is able to wrap the world around her finger… if only temporarily.
After the break up, Elizabeth has to go back to her old job as a middle-school teacher, and starts full time looking for another rich sucker to support her. This is the story of a resourceful, intelligent woman using her intellect and beauty to confound men and use women for her own personal advancement. She’s not quite all bad though, and Bad Teacher is the story of a golddigger numbing herself with a litany of substances searching for a man to support her and perhaps something more. Can Elizabeth’s tragic character be redeemed? The stage is the middle school, where children are still establishing their identities and learning of life. In addition to Elizabeth, the middle school has some quirky characters.
The characters of this R rated comedies:
He might not have much of a personality, but he has a lot of cash to make up for it
1. Scott Delacorte, a rich substitute teacher played by Justin Timberlake. Handsome, rich and naive, Scott seems like the perfect fish for Elizabeth to catch and use. However, Scott is a strange, strange man. He’s more bizarre than quirky, the product of a sheltered life and never having to work for anything in his life. Elizabeth does love money, but Scott’s flaws could triumph over her love of gold. Still, he’s got cash, he’s handsome, and she can’t wait to sink her claws into him and suck him dry. However, one things stands in her way…
She’s pretty, in that overly attached girlfriend kind of way
2. Amy Squirrel, a dedicated and zany teacher played by Lucy Punch who’s love for teaching and her children borders on insane. She’s the opposite of Elizabeth: hardworking where Elizabeth is lazy, dedicated where Elizabeth finds the job beneath her, however she possesses a certain degree of base cunning that makes her a formidable opponent. Squirrel too is attracted to the rather airy Scott Delacorte, and is Elizabeth’s rival in matters of academia and the heart. Squirrel has the feeling of a kettle about to boil, of a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off… she’s crazy, crazy like a squirrel.
Jason Segel, warming cockles since 1998
3. Russell Gettis, the hard working yet down to earth gym teacher played by one of my favourite actors, Jason Segel. He doesn’t have much money, so his interest in Elizabeth faces an enormous obstacle: can his personality and attitude win her over without a diversified portfolio and a vacation home? You’re too good for her, Russell!
Those are the three main characters, but there are many more adding to the mix, including another teacher who is kind-hearted and awkward played by Phyllis Smith, aka Phyllis from the office. Elizabeth abuses her trusting nature, and is generally a horrible person.
Elizabeth’s class is where she reveals a little more depth to her character: she has visions of her childhood, of when she was not such a horrible person, and she knows the ins and outs of psychology. One thing you have to be good at if you want to be a gold digger, it’s learning how to make people like you. She is able to use her skills to change the hierarchy of the class, deciding the fate of nerds and preppy students alike.
She’ll warm your blood and chill your heart
Elizabeth is the type of cold-hearted, manipulative women who makes me want to stay broke- at least if you are broke, you know that women like you for who you are, not what you make. Bad Teacher makes my list of the best comedies of 2011 because of its crass humour, it’s unlikeable yet competent lead and for its ridiculous situations. Can Elizabeth lie, cheat and steal her way into another rich mans heart? Or will she perhaps find something worth more than gold? That’s the crux of this R rated comedy, which manages to hide it’s meaning in a sea of drugs, alcohol and sexuality.