Bad Words review

By Max Maier | Jul 10, 2014

Jason Bateman is a funny guy. From his work on Arrested Development to his films like Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses, Bateman has proven he is a good actor. Now most of his roles have portrayed a similar trait, his characters are usually the normal guy who is pretty down t earth and calm until he is pushed to the edge. Well, in his directorial debut, he decided he would play someone completely different from anything he has mainly done. Then, you get Bad Words.

We open up with our main character, Guy Trilby (Bateman), a 40-year old sarcastic man, about to compete in a pretty important spelling bee. Once people start finding out he is competing, the parents and runners of the bee get pretty upset. The 2 hosts take him outside and start questioning why he would do this. Guy explains (in a quite sarcastic and hilarious manner) that according to the official national rules of Bees across the country, participants must have not completed the 8th grade. Guy presents his transcripts showing that he indeed did not complete the 8th, he dropped out on his own accord. Plus, he has the required newspaper sponsorship, in eager online journalist, Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn). Guy has made a deal with Jenny, if Jenny and her paper sponsor him, he will slowly give her the story as to why he is doing what he is doing, which Jenny is intensely interested in.

We cut to a little bit later, where Guy is going to enter the national and regal Golden Quill spelling bee, owned by Bill Bowman. On the plane ride over, Guy meets a young boy named Chaitanya Chopra, a young boy entering the bee. Chopra tries to form a bond with Guy, but as expected, he is not interested. Once they arrive, Guy and Jenny quickly learn that he is extremely not wanted there, and that the owners of the bee and the parents, think quite low of him. I don't want to spoil too much, so I'll leave it at that the rest of the story is Guy trying to win the bee, working on his relationships with Jenny and Chopra, and the plot twists that come along, especially with his reasoning with why he is competing in these bees.

Honestly, I got a much richer story out of this than I was expecting. I thought it was going to be just a raunchy comedy about a jerk who got into a spelling bee. I mean, you get that here, but there is a lot more, with actual serious moments. The story, with plenty of hysterical moments, actually had plot twists, great character development and actual investment in the story's outcomes. That's pretty good for a raunchy comedy.

The movie is also hilarious. This movie definitely earns its R rating, and is not intended for any viewer who can't handle that content. That's not a slight against the movie in anyway, because it is really funny. Especially Guy, who is the show stealer here. Guy is such a bitter and sarcastic person who seems to have no care for anyone but himself. Seriously, this is another example of when a movie succeeds in getting you to have legitimate sympathy for a terrible person. I really admire that in a film or television, because it shows pretty strong writing or acting. Like with The Sopranos, every character is a bad or corrupt person, yet we love them. When a movie or TV show can get you to love or care for a character as horrible as Tony Soprano or Guy Trilby, they are doing something right. Guy is funny, surprisingly relatable, and not as shallow as you think.

The supporting cast is great in certain spots. Chopra is an adorable kid character, who kind of comes into his own towards the end of the movie. His transformation in this film is pretty fun to watch and kudos to this kid actor. Jenny is also pretty funny, but with struggles of her own. She is pretty good bouncing off of Guy's behavior, and they have good chemistry. The rest of the supporting cast is used in small intervals, but there are no weak links amongst the cast at all. It is pretty solid.

On the other end of the spectrum, I do have 1 problem with the movie. It is the fact that we don't get more explanation on Guy's background. I know that sounds like a nitpick, but it bugged me. He dropped out of the 8th grade, how has he made a living? What has he been doing all of these years? What will he do afterwards? It's information that isn't necessarily essential to the plot, but it would've been nice to learn more about Guy.

Overall, I really enjoyed Bad Words more than I thought I would. Bateman has shown that not only can he act very well, but that he can also create a pretty fun movie. I recommend Bad Words to anyone in the mood for a bit of raunchy comedy or just a good laugh. Bad Words is pretty funny, and I know I'll be seeing it again.


I give Bad Words, 4 spellings out of 5


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