Friday, July 27, 2012

#4 & #5: Jason Segal Double Feature

It seems that my Netflix Challenge list is much like watching Star Trek movies--only the odd numbers are good. Moneyball was great. Harold & Kumar not so much. 50/50 was amazing. Bad Teacher was  just whatever. It wasn't a bad movie, per say. It just wasn't a good one. 

Cameron Diaz is Elizabeth Halsey, a foul-mouthed, money-digging, pot-smoking horrendous person. Elizabeth teaches junior high. And people like her are the reason good teachers get the short end of every stick. When her sugar daddy leaves her, she decides that she needs bigger boobs, and her entire purpose for doing EVERYTHING is to get bigger boobs and woo the  extremely wealthy substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake). For some odd reason, the gym teacher (Jason Segal) takes a liking to Elizabeth and an odd one-direction love triangle starts. That's not even a triangle, that's just a love line with three people.

Diaz is funny enough, but her character had so few redeeming traits that I was waiting, nay hoping, she would fail. As I tell my students on a regular basis, protagonist appeal is of the utmost importance in a movie (Well, the ones lacking giant explosions, car chases and such.) Diaz's character had no appeal. I wasn't even that curious about what crap she would get into next. She did, as necessary, have a couple of redeeming moments near the end, but she still never seemed likable. Jason Segal, though, he was pretty hilarious. His character is the gym teacher you wish you had in high school. Loved every minute he was on screen. 

Jeff, Who Lives at Home was better than Bad Teacher, by far. Segal is Jeff, a 30 year-old lazy man who lives in his mom's basement. His brother (Ed Helms) is a selfish jerk who finds out his wife is cheating. His mother (Susan Sarandon) finds a surprising admirer at work. The movie is over the course of one day when Jeff starts following signs and gets off course on his way to buy wood glue. The people--family and not--he encounters are interesting but not fascinating. It is no laugh out loud comedy like Segal usually does, but it is still a funny, endearing story that explores the oddness of life. It was a little slow going for me and didn't truly pick up until the climax when everything sort of came together in this unbelievable moment. I don't regret seeing it, but I probably won't watch it again.

So, there you go. Two Jason Segal movies back-to-back. Now that I'm over this Strep throat, I can get back to watching. Crazy Heart sat on the shelf too long. I'm sending it back and moving it to the bottom of the list. Next up, Real Steel.

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