Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is the world's worst teacher and regularly drifts through her classes with a cracking hangover and a serious attitude problem.
Glamorous, but on the wrong side of her thirties, Halsey is unimpressed by gym teacher Russell Gettis's (Jason Segel) attempts to woo her and is determined to bag a rich husband so she can pack in her day job.
Enter nice but dim substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), whose apparent family wealth makes him an ideal candidate. Unfortunately, Delacorte has the hots for goody two-shoes teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), and Halsey believes that the only way to steal his heart is by investing in breast implants. Strapped for cash, Halsey hears of a lucrative teaching prize that will put her in direct competition with Squirrel and attempts to clean up her act so she can get her hands on enough cash for the bust-bolstering operation.
Those expecting a companion piece to the wonderfully scabrous Bad Santa may be in for a slight disappointment, but Bad Teacher has enough anarchic gags to make up for its lack of real bite. Diaz is likably game as the potty-mouthed educator and although she's not a born comic talent, she has an impressive knack for spitting out F-words.
The real revelation is rising British actress Lucy Punch, who shines as the insipidly nicey-nice Squirrel, although a hangdog Segel gets lost in the mix. Kasdan (the son of revered The Empires Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan) previously directed hit and miss comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and here he keeps things fun and zingy, yet never taps into the concept's satirical possibilities. Short and somewhat insubstantial, but thoroughly entertaining, Bad Teacher may not get full marks, but it certainly makes the grade.