Bad TeacherDirector: Jake Kasdan, Columbia Pictures, Rated MA, 92 mins
After her appealing appearances in Charlie’s Angels and more recently in Knight and Day, Cameron Dias has done an about-face by delivering a somewhat pitiful performance in her latest movie, appropriately titled Bad Teacher, which is helmed by TV Californication director Jake Kasdan.
Dias plays Elizabeth Hasley, a smutty, gold-digging teacher who suddenly finds herself being dumped by her rich fiancée and forced to continue with her teaching job which she loathes - demonstrated by her turning up to class with a hangover, sneaking a drink during class while entertaining students with DVDs, and trying to wear off her intoxication by attempting to sleep at her desk.
Knowing that she has to keep her job to pay her bills, Elizabeth also needs the money for a breast enlargement which she hopes will enhance her chances of snagging new teacher Scott Delacorte (played by Diaz’s former partner Justin Timberlake The Social Network) who happens to be from a wealthy background and is also being pursued by the manipulative rival teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch Dinner with Schmucks).
At the same time Elizabeth is quick to reject the overtures from the genteel gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel Gulliver’s Travels) whom she assesses as not being particularly wealthy.
Though not as bad as Bridesmaids, Kasdan’s rendition of a bad teacher appears to be relished by Diaz in her portrayal of the main character but is hampered by a convoluted script filled with lewd jokes, excessive profanities and an unconventional sex scene featuring Diaz and Timberlake.
In the end it is the rivalry between Diaz and Punch which is the only highlight in Kasdan’s irreverent movie besides being a further example of a young woman behaving badly - in fact a bad and bawdy teacher who only deserves a D assessment.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 Rubber Stamp
SecretariatRelease Date 10 Aug 2011
Director: Randall Wallace, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated PG, 123 mins
A DVD being released in August is the inspirational true story of an incredible racing horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner who risks everything to make him a champion.
This feelgood family movie is directed by renowned screenplay writer Randall Wallace and stars Diane Lane as Penny Chenery who takes on the impossible task of transforming Secretariat into a racing champion.
With the sudden death of her mother, Penny agrees to take over her ailing father’s horse farm, “Meadow Stables” despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge.
With the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich) Penny makes her presence felt in the male-dominated horse racing business, ultimately achieving her goal of being the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.
Disney Studios have again presented another memorable movie filled with heart, determination and courage, assembling a wonderful cast that includes Lane’s brilliant portrayal of Penny, Malkovich as her trainer Lucien, with fine support provided by James Cromwell as Ogden Phipps and Fred Thompson as Bull Hancock.
But the real star is Secretariat and the extraordinary efforts taken by Penny to transform him into a record breaking racehorse.
Disney’s home entertainment debut of its DVD and Blu-ray editions of Secretariat shouldappeal to everyone in view of its family-oriented story and its range of bonus features, especially the featurette “Heart of a Champion” that looks at one of the most famous thoroughbred horses every known.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamp
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