Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a stereotypical gold digger who is immediately dumped in the opening of the movie by her wealthy fiancé and his mother because Halsey spent too much of his money in the previous month and did not even know his birthday. Somehow, throughout the relationship, she was also a teacher who refused to bond with either colleagues or students. Halsey had quit her job in order to plan her wedding but was forced back to work and out of her Mercedes upon the break up with her fiancé. Although still teaching, she tells her co-worker that her “full-time job is finding a guy who is going to take care of me.”
As far as character sketches go, she’s inherently flawed – she’s a gold digger missing the heart of gold. The writers gave us no reason to like her or even cheer for her. She smokes pot in the parking lot, not concerned when a student approaches her car to talk to her – Halsey merely plays off the pot as necessary medical marijuana. Instead of actually teaching, Halsey drinks alcohol miniatures from her desk while she has students watch movies like “Stand and Deliver” and “Lean on Me.” After stealing a glass dolphin while as a guest in a student’s home for the holidays, she gives that trinket to the principal as a gift.
Halsey won’t date the gym teacher, Russell Gettis (played by Jason Segel) because he is a gym teacher, but she does have a crush on fellow teacher, Scott Delacorte (played by Justin Timerlake), merely because he is a member of a very wealthy watch-making clan. She even steals the state assessment test when she finds out that she could win $5,700 if her class scores the highest – which they do as the result of cheating – and earmarks the bonus for a breast augmentation surgery.
She has a foe, both for the affections of Delacorte and for the teaching accolades, in colleague Amy Squirrel (played by Lucy Punch). However, no matter how much Squirrel turns up the heat on Halsey and turns her in to the principal, Halsey somehow always ends up on top.
In an attempt to make Halsey a little more likable, she half-heartedly comes to the aid of one of her students who embarrasses himself by professing his affections for a popular girl in front of the class on a field trip, only to be rebuffed. Halsey gives him her bra as a consolation prize for his inadequacies. It’s too little and wayyyyy too late.
This concept may have been passable as a ten-minute, Saturday Night Sketch. As is – it fails.
Bad teacher. Bad movie.
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