Friday, June 24, 2011

Jake Kasdan: School of Scatology (Bad Teacher)

Bad Teacher,Cameron Diaz,Jason Segal,Justin Timberlake,Sony Pictures

Expectations are usually at the bottom of the barrel for big Summer comedies-usually they are either lame romantic comedies or lamer gross out attempts at risque satire while remaining safely in the perimeters of crowd predilection. A truly edgy or appealing Summer riot is rare indeed.

Director Jake Kasdan has proven his strength both with dead pan originality(Zero Effect) and human comedy(Orange County), and so arrives guns cocked to cull the subversive shenanigans of Bad Teacher.Essentially your typical studio comedy with emphasis on gender stereotype and tiresome plot structure, where Kasdan triumphs is in his focus on the humor found in power struggles between pegs within a power structure. While the differing personalities of the junior high teachers are old hat and plot device driven, the director somehow makes them seem fresh and funny in collusion with his actors.

Cameron Diaz gets to shine in a different light, playing dark and bitchy, an anti-heroine. That she does horrible things and gets the guy is pretty interesting, shaking the genre up. Her gifts as a comedic actress are well used.

Jason Segal, Lucy Punch, Justin Timberlake and co match her every step. The dialogue is barbed, with numerous hilariously inspired set pieces. Michael Andrews' theme is contagious.

Overall, Kasdan has delivered an above average seasonal comedy, with enough verve to distinguish itself as scatological with substance.

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