Today's DVDs: Kevin Smith, Too Fat for 40 and Bad Teacher
Too Fat for 40 stars Kevin Smith; Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson direct.
The Setup: Actor/writer/director/general-all-around-creative-guy Kevin Smith goes back to his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey, gets onstage and takes questions from the audience. Actually, he takes one and answers it for some two hours (actually, he uses that one question as a launching pad for his own ramblings).
The Execution: Smith is a charmer. Much of the show's humor comes from Smith's detailed accounts of his newfound hobby: smoking pot. He loves it. No, no, you don't understand -- he L-O-V-E-S it. He spends much of his time onstage talking about the advantages of getting high, sprinkles in a few long-winded stories about working with actor Bruce Willis (who, according to Smith, spends all his time on movie sets being a cranky dick) and recounts his infamous encounter with Southwest Airlines (who ejected him from a flight when they decided he was too large to fit in a regular seat).
The Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray editions feature additional onstage footage and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
The Verdict: Kevin Smith fans will love this. Everyone else will find it entertaining enough to overlook the three-plus hours' length of Smith's musings. (Thanks to his timing and the show's pacing, it doesn't seem that long.)
Bad Teacher stars Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake; Jake Kasdan directs.
The Setup: Cameron Diaz is Elizabeth, a lazy, boozing, much-too-beautiful-for-her-own-good party girl who winds up teaching school after her rich boyfriend dumps her. School cuts into her sleep time (translation: recovering from her daily hangovers) and Elizabeth looks at her students as unfortunate consequences of her day job. She looks at the rich, nerdy teacher down the hall, played by Justin Timberlake, however, as her way out. Jason Segel plays another teacher, a regular guy who's willing to overlook Elizabeth's beauty and see her faults.
The Execution: Diaz is a delight playing against type. Sleazy, greedy and man-hungry, with no regard for her students at all, her Elizabeth is gloriously awful. Timberlake, however, has a few missteps as her geeky love interest; he plays it a little too earnest. Segel, on the other hand, is dead on, delivering a performance with flawless timing.
The Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray have extended scenes and what producers call way-behind-the-scenes featurettes with Segel and Timberlake.
The Verdict: We're not talking Oscar material here, but then again, it's Cameron Diaz, what do you expect? You get jokes, some giggles and lots of shots of Diaz looking fabulous. The storyline works well enough to give everyone a reason for being there. Bad Teacher doesn't offer any life-changing insights, just a happy hour and a half of pretty, funny people on screen doing things we would never try in the real world.