Jake Kasdan should be much bigger than he is.

And, no, I don't mean he's a leprechaun.  He's not miniature.  But he is far more talented than his "place" in the industry would indicate.  His work on "Freaks and Geeks" alone should make him a big name.  "Zero Effect" is one of those great small movies that seems to be timeless, totally not part of any trend, and with a huge voice.  "Orange County" is a low-key charmer, and "The TV Set" is an acutely-observed look at the madness of the entertainment industry, revealing and without sentiment.  I think people dismissed "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" without really seeing it, lumping it in with lesser parody work, and it's probably the best comedy about musicians since "Ishtar."

Yes, I meant that as praise.

Maybe the tide has turned for Kasdan.  Maybe this is his year finally.  Screen Gems had a fun smart late-summer surprise last year with "Easy A," and I'm hoping "Bad Teacher" is that for them again this year, only with a much fouler mouth.  Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg have a very short track record.  They wrote "Year One," they write for "The Office," and they're working on "Ghostbuster III." 

With "Bad Teacher," they're taking a shot at redeeming themselves after "Year One."  I'd say this is an important movie for them.  It represents their shot at a big-screen career.  If it doesn't work, they'll probably be able to set up a network show fairly easily.  But if it does work, they'll be able to probably just write movies if that's what they'd prefer.  This is a team with a lot to prove, and with raw talent to burn when you consider Stupnitsky and Eisenberg and Kasdan together.

"Bad Teacher" stars Cameron Diaz, and it's a brand-new her you'll see in the trailer for this.  She's always had an eye for material like this, but she's rarely given the role of the most outrageous asshole in a film.  She was surrounded by madness in "There's Something About Mary," and the whole point of the film was that she wasn't part of it.  She was sweet, instead.  If you see her in "Very Bad Things" or "Vanilla Sky," you can see that there's something else going on inside her.  She's more interesting than I ever would have expected when I saw "The Mask" in the theater.  And when she made "The Sweetest Thing," she was trying to pull off a movie where she gets to be the alpha male, the uberjerk.  It looks here like she's finally found the role that lets her play that side, turned all the way up.

She's supported by Lucy Punch, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Phyllis Smith, John Michael Higgins, and more, and the trailer pulls out all the stops to try and convey a very heavy R-rated tone.  My one concern is that this looks like it gives away a ton of the movie, and I would have enjoyed hearing them for the first time in the film.  Still, it's promising, and I hope there's plenty more where this came from.

So again... keep in mind... this is not to be played at work or in front of your kids.  You'll know why pretty much right away:

 

 


"Bad Teacher" starts taking attendance June 24.