Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segal, Lucy Punch and Phyllis Smith.
Running Time: 92 mins. approx.
Seen at: Didsbury.
On: Thursday, 23rd June, 2011.
Comedic favourite Cameron Diaz makes a welcome return to considerably lighter material than recent years, similar to territory such as The Sweetest Thing, My Best Friend’s Wedding and There’s Something About Mary. This is her funniest role since 2008’s What Happens In Vegas opposite Ashton Kutcher. It’s a really great character for Diaz to play, because of just how fearless she is in it, proving still that she is one of the most naturally gifted comediennes in the business.
She plays teacher Elizabeth Halsey – although teacher may be something of an overstatement.
Lazy, rude, razor-tongued and foul-mouthed, the scenes where she arrives late for class in dark glasses either severely hung-over - sneaking an extra bottle of vodka into her desk draw - or under the influence of illegal substances, are a real treat to watch.
Supposedly an English teacher, she resorts to the old – ‘shall we just watch the video instead of reading the book’ scenario. Consequently, her students can often be found slumped in front of a screen watching Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds to name just one. Either that or looking on in astonishment as she takes part in a scantily-clad sponsored car wash.
In fact, Elizabeth is only using teaching as a stop-gap in order to fund her true ambition – to have a boob job! There’s a hilarious sequence whereby she attends a demonstration of this at a clinic, and let’s just say the actress in question wasn’t wearing a bra!
Matters are further complicated for our boozy heroine, with the interference of the excruciatingly irritating Amy Squirrel (played by very funny British actress Lucy Punch) – a pristine goody-too-shoes who constantly delights in being the principal’s favourite member of staff, until her true colours are finally exposed as superficial.
Help is at hand with the arrival of substitute teacher Scott Dellacord (woodenly played by Justin Timberlake). Needless to say, from there on in the film becomes more than a little predictable, with the pair soon falling for each other.
A solid enough script outweighs the fact that it’s a bit too long, and it’s refreshing to note that on this occasion, the filmmakers chose to break tradition by not making the rebellious Elizabeth a totally ‘reformed character’ by the end.
Rating: * * *