From a distance, it might look like the summer of 2011 is going to be dominated by superheroes, but in fact, it’s a smash hit from two years ago that looks to be setting the agenda at the multiplexes. The colossal gross of “The Hangover” in 2009 revived the fading R-rated comedy genre, and between May and August this year, we won’t just see the sequel to that film, but a number of equally potty-mouthed comedies that hope to follow in its footsteps. In the space of only a few months, we’ve got “Bridesmaids,” “The Sitter,” “Friends With Benefits,” “Horrible Bosses,” “The Change-Up,” and “30 Minutes or Less.” all of which will be R-rated and proud, and jostling for a place at the marketplace.
One of the contenders that’s been flying relatively low on the radar to date is “Bad Teacher,” a Black Listed script from Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, writers of “The Office” and (whisper it) “Year One.” The film toplines Cameron Diaz, as a gold-digging teacher who sets her sights on the wealthy new substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake) who is the heir to a fortune and co-stars Jason Segal, rising star Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins and “The Office” supporting player Phyllis Smith. It’s helmed by Jake Kasdan, veteran of TV work like “Freaks & Geeks,” as well as features “Orange County” and “Walk Hard,” among others.
Myspace, which apparently still exists, (via Empire) debuted the first look at the comedy overnight in the form of a red-band trailer, and you can watch it below. Having enjoyed the script, we were cautiously optimistic about this, but the trailer hasn’t made the film out to be a home-run quite yet. There are a few moments that raise a smile, certainly — Diaz looks to be on better form than she’s been in a while (for one thing, she has lines, and a purpose in the plot, so it’s an improvement on “The Green Hornet“), and the foul-mouthed, child-beating character seems reminiscent of the modern classic “Bad Santa” (indeed, part of us hopes it marks the start of a “Confessions of a…“-style franchise: “Bad Airline Pilot?” “Bad Surgeon?” “Bad Screenwriter?”).
But not all of the jokes land, by any means (can we please consign the ‘sexy carwash’ scene to the comedy dustbin?), and neither Stupnitsky and Eisenberg, who again, were behind the nearly unwatchable “Year One,” or Kasdan, who’s never fully followed up the promise of his precocious debut, the chronically underrated “Zero Effect,” have solid enough track records to make us feel on totally concrete ground here. We’ll find out which way it goes when the movie opens on June 17th, but for the moment, we’re still behind “Bridesmaids” as our sweary-lady-comedy pick of the summer.