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Notes from the Back Row

Bad Teachers and junky Cars



I'm down on teachers - high school especially.

To be fair, moulding the minds of our future is perhaps the most important job out there, and no teacher is paid what they should be, but as a kid I just wasn't buying the whole uber-authoritative, all-knowing vibe many of them were laying down (plus I f@ckin' knew I'd never use the quadratic equation ever again in my life, or need to know what year the Magna Carta was signed). There are good teachers, but as they told us so many times, "It only takes one bad apple..."

Pity I didn't have Cameron Diaz's character from Bad Teacher , opening Friday at the Village 8. Diaz stars as a gold-digging pottymouth teacher who likes smoking pot, hard drinking and not doing her job.

Rather, she focuses all her energy on wooing an overly-geeky, unrealistically wealthy substitute played by Justin Timberlake. Diaz is looking for a meal ticket so she can get out of the education game and focus on her real career: looking hot.

The plot thickens when an overly keen colleague (Lucy Punch, killing it) also sets her sights on JT and the sarcastically awesome gym teacher (Jason Segel) pursues Diaz.

Somewhere in there is a lesson to be learned, but it's buried under f-bombs and wild-n-wet carwash fundraisers.

Bad Teacher isn't as kick-ass as it sounds, however. Rather than go for the bad taste jugular, director Jake Kasdan ( Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story ) eases up and doesn't deliver as much 'Bad' as he should. Instead we get a one-note character in a patched-together script that lacks the punch of Bad Santa or the characters of School of Rock .

Although there are moments of comedic brilliance it's the writing that ultimately sinks this one. Bad Teacher deserves a "C" but I'll give her a "B-" because she looks so slippery when wet.

Speaking of road signs, Cars 2 rolls into town this week. Thanks to its toy line and merchandise, the first Cars has been Pixar's biggest moneymaker to date so a sequel was no surprise. What is astounding is how much said sequel sucks.

The tenderly delivered moral lessons and the American nostalgia of the first Cars are replaced by the glitz and glamour of a globe-trotting race circuit. Spliced into an international espionage tale starring Mater the tow truck (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), they hang this film on the imbecile sidekick.

With predictable clichéd character arcs (how many times have we seen the  on-again-off-again best friend storyline?) and overly cheesy sentiment, this one would easily win the title of shittiest Pixar flick yet.

Which isn't to say kids (young boys at least) aren't gonna eat it up - there are few clever bits and decent James Bond-y action sequences. The 3D in Cars 2 is apparently not too bad but Whistler viewers will never know as we are exclusively 2D up here.

Pink Floyd fans might get a bit confused when Transformers: Dark of the Moon opens next Tuesday. It looks good but it's two hours and 37 minutes of movie without Megan Fox.

Megan's been replaced by Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and if you don't know who that is you can just Google it on your iPhone. You can also look up when the Magna Carta was signed, Bernoulli's principle of fluid dynamics, how to say "Pineapples cannot talk" in French, the equation for photosynthesis and all the other crap you were forced to learn in high school and then instantly forgot in real life.