Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Girl's Got Camerones

Cameron Diaz and Phyllis Smith in Bad Teacher
It's rare these days that I'm moved to blog after being inspired by a piece of art. But after viewing Cameron Diaz in "Bad Teacher" tonight I must add my voice to the bravos (ie, "you go girls") this Tokin' Woman deserves. I'd seen the previews and expected the usual sort of lowbrow fare, but instead I saw a movie with heart, soul, and the best comedic performance by a person, male or female, in a very long time.

Diaz transcends the harkened-to Edward James Olmos and Michelle Pfeiffer as cool teachers who find their humanity in tragedy. Sort of a "Private Benjamin" meets "Cold Comfort Farm" meets "School of Rock" (including a terrific performance by Phyllis Smith of "The Office" smoking a doobie).

Casting her boy toy Justin Timberlake as a nerdy pantswetter who parodies himself singing a love song in pitch-perfect style,  her other love interest is played by Jason Segel, who's the stoner in "Freaks and Geeks" and, as Marshall in "How I Met Your Mother," bonds with Ted over "sandwiches" in the “How I Met Everyone Else” episode. 

The film handles marijuana in perfect irony, moderation and jubilation, and the rest of the film hits the right notes as well.

Best note in the new Harold and Kumar 3-D Christmas extravaganga: when Danneel Harris (Vanessa) tells Kumar not to stop smoking. The actress told High Times in 2008 she smokes pot; neither John Cho (Harold) or Kal Penn (Kumar) partake (so they say).

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