It's hard to imagine Cameron Diaz playing a teacher. That is, until you hear the teacher is rude, crude, lewd and hot for Justin Timberlake, which sounds more aligned with the roles we're used to seeing the goofy, action-loving actress tackle.
'Bad Teacher' hits theaters this week, and features Diaz as, well, basically the complete opposite of the passionate Ms. Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) in 'Dangerous Minds.' Diaz's Ms. Halsey is more interested in chasing the cute (and rich) new substitute, played by Timberlake, than she is in developing young minds.
Lucy Punch ('Dinner for Schmucks') plays Diaz's biggest rival for JT's affections, while Jason Segel ('Forgetting Sarah Marshall') co-stars as a gym teacher who wouldn't mind a piece of Ms. Halsey for himself. Diaz's greedy character will do anything to land JT as her latest sugar daddy, including saving up for a boob job to help catch his eye.
There are plenty of naughty educators in movies over the years, but Diaz's Ms. Halsey just may take the cake for worst movie teacher ever. (Aside from those really, really evil movie teachers and nuns who beat the kids, of course.) She doesn't mean well, and she's not tough on the kids for their own good. She's tough on them because, well, she's a ... rhymes with 'witch.'
In honor of 'Bad Teacher,' here's a list of my own top five favorite best worst movie teachers.
1. Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) in 'Election.' Mr. McAllister is a total mess! Sure, Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is the most irritating character ever. But tampering with a school election is just plain wrong, Mr. McAllister. Tsk, tsk. A man who lets a teenage girl get under his skin that much really shouldn't be a high school teacher. (Bonus points for having Broderick come full circle from driving Principal Rooney crazy in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.')
2. Mrs. Tingle (Helen Mirren) in 'Teaching Mrs. Tingle.' What kind of teacher messes with Katie Holmes's perfect GPA? An evil one, obviously. Clearly Mrs. Tingle is just jealous of perfect little Katie. She'll pay for her spiteful bias, oh yes. She'll pay.
3. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) in 'Harry Potter.' I mean, really, how could we leave Snape off this list? Would it kill him to be a little less snarky? Heading off to boarding school isn't easy for poor Harry, and having a sharp-tongued professor who blatantly favors your snotty white-blond antagonist certainly doesn't help.
4. Principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.' Much like Mr. McAllister let Tracy Flick get under his skin, Principal Rooney let Ferris (Matthew Broderick) drive him batty. Resorting to breaking and entering a student's home is not a hallmark of a respectable educator. Maybe it's time to just let that snot-nosed punk leave your cheese out in the wind, Mr. Rooney.
5. Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) in 'Notes on a Scandal.' You really shouldn't sleep with high school boys, Sheba! Especially if a) he's your student; b) you're married; and c) the creepy old history teacher (Judi Dench) is trying to blackmail you into loving her.